Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024: Matar Fuma feel right at home

Matar Fuma are homecoming heroes at Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024. Find out what made William Ospina return to Bogotá

William Ospina of Matar Fuma by Juan Pedro Ocampo.
William Ospina of Matar Fuma. Photo by Juan Pedro Ocampo.

After a long time in New York, singer-songwriter-composer William Ospina is returning to Bogotá with his project Matar Fuma. As part of his relocation, he’s playing Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024 (Friday, 5pm) in the city where he feels most at home. 

He’s coming back full time because of what he sees for the future: “The people are very into the national bands. There’s like a new movement, a new sound that I am very happy to be part of. That’s the main reason.” While he has a foot in both countries, it’s clear that he prefers La Nevera to The Big Apple, in large part for lyrical reasons.

“I feel more connected to the people,” he says with a grin. “So of course I will say Colombia because of the language barrier. But I also enjoy playing there. To be honest, I like the way everything’s prepared in NY, the venues are amazing, but the difference is that here the people can understand what I’m saying.” Last Autumn’s single No Es Tan Simple conveys that feeling well.

No Es Tan Simple was released last year and will be fresh at Festival Estéreo Picnic

The band name is a clever reversal of the ciggie packet Fumar Mata, or Smoking Kills. This playful yet sharply aware use of language is integral to the project. Ospina is in the long tradition of sensitive Latin American rock poets, with his soulful eyes framed by round glasses. He says himself: “I have many different influences but mainly lyrically it’s artists who speak Spanish.”

His love of Spanish lyrics is clear when he says, “My favourite artists are from South America or from Spain. Jorge Drexler, and I like of course Fito Paéz. In English I’m a big fan of Radiohead and someone coming to Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024 that I love is James Blake.” The latter plays after him on Friday, so he’s in luck there.

The sound of Matar Fuma

Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024, like every year, has a lot of dreamrock on the bill and Matar Fuma fit in perfectly here. There’s a lot of early Pink Floyd noodling and whimsical experimentation alongside acoustic hippy-rock. Take a look at Lo Que Nunca Pasó for an example of that tender yet probing sound. 

With two albums under his belt, there’s more to come. “I’m actually planning my third album right now,” he says, adding, “It’s almost done. I did most of the things in New York.” It’ll be out later this year but he’ll be debuting some songs in his Friday set at Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024.

Lo Que Nunca Pasó did happen, and is one of Matar Fuma’s more psych tracks

Despite his time in NYC, he’s firm about his musical heritage, saying he’s “Colombian 100%. First of all the lyrics. I started off doing music in English but I just felt the most honest way to communicate what I wanted to say was in Spanish. Culturally also, the rhythms I use in different tracks are very Latin, from the Andes and cumbia as well.”

While the band is Ospina’s baby, he’s not alone. “Think like Tame Impala, there’s one guy and then all these musicians,” he explains. “In New York I have a band and in Bogotá I have one too but it’s my project. I’m going to have a couple of guest artists playing a couple of songs, so that’s going to be enjoyable too.” He remains tight-lipped about who that might be, so you’ll have to turn up to find out.

William Ospina from Matar Fuma in a NY cafe. By Juan Pedro Ocampo.
Matar Fuma is a pensive project. Photo by Juan Pedro Ocampo

The Spanish language and Colombian culture might be key influences in the sound of Matar Fuma, but it’s an internationally-minded and open project that embraces all. Ospina is excited because “The band I played with for the last seven years in NY is coming for the first time to Colombia, so that’s going to be a cool experience for them.

This arrangement is truly multi-cultural, an unmistakably Latin sound but representing the world in one band. “We’re five now, a drummer from Israel, there’s a guitar player from Australia, bass player from South Korea and the piano player from Italy. It’s going to be different cultures in one stage.”

Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024 is not Ospina’s primera chamba. “Dude yeah, I went in 2014, saw Nine Inch Nails and Red Hot Chili Peppers, a bunch of bands that were amazing and in 2022 too. I’m excited to be a part of it now. I have everything prepared, so I’m anxious to play live.” Get down on Friday afternoon to check him out.

Matar Fuma play CeraVe stage at 5pm on Friday 22nd March at Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024 in Parque Simón Bolívar. Tickets still available here at time of publication.


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