Punk Rock Tour Tales #6: Mateusz & Karolina from CF98

We talk touring with Polish skate-punks CF98: including trips to Japan, Punk Rock Holiday and the UK.

Interview by Sarah Williams.

CF98 have made major waves in the European skate-punk scene in the last two years, although they’ve been carving out a name for themselves in their Polish homeland for more than 14 years. Residing in Kraków, they’ve recently had a successful Japanese and UK tours, plus a slot at Punk Rock Holiday. They were due to join us for Manchester Punk Festival this year, so we’re hoping we’ll get another chance to see them soon.

In the meantime we spoke to guitarist Mateusz Poznański with interjections from vocalist Karolina Duszkiewicz about their touring wins and failures. We love CF98 – check them out live as soon as you can!

Of the touring you’ve done, what’s been your favourite so far?

The tour we will always remember is our Japan tour in 2019. That was our first trip so far away from home as a band and also the first band flight together! This was really huge deal for us, I couldn’t believe we would actually fly to another continent to play shows. We loved touring in Poland, UK, Denmark and Ukraine, but making a Japan tour possible was totally different. It’s so cool that we were invited by Waki and the RNR crew.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever driven to play a 30 minute set?

We can totally consider our Punk Rock Holiday slot as a winner in this category. We all took one week’s vacation, drove 12 hours there and 12 hours back to play a 20 minute acoustic set, and 30 minutes live on Thursday. Crazy, but we are used to it. It’s far everywhere you go from Poland!

Have you ever looked around on tour and thought ‘what the fuck is happening’?
What had happened?

Mateusz: We had this kind of feeling coming back from UK last year. From Manchester to Krakow, including the ferry. When we saw a second sunrise on our way back home, still driving, we thought – what the fuck is wrong with us? Is this real? Second sunrise and still in a van? We were just tired and acting like sad complaining teenagers.

How did you overcome it?

Karolina: It will sound surreal, but I never had this moment. My brain is programmed into finding a way out of shitty situations, finding solutions. Of course there were many times that I felt I’m not good enough for this, but I never felt like quitting. C’mon this is the love of my life.

What are your tips for surviving a tour?

Tips for surviving a tour: headphones, eating + shitting more less in the same time, making more sandwiches for your bandmates, sharing driving… generally trying to avoid all situations that may cause a shitty atmosphere and arguments. Loading in and out your gear together is also helpful.

Do you have a long-serving tour vehicle? What are its quirks?

We have our van and its quite luxury to be honest. It’s a 2003 Ford Econoline E350. Because it’s a huge American car it always makes everybody super interesting. We have a lot of space to pack our backline and still have some space left.

Quirks… It’s running on LPG so sometimes we need to plan the route to the next petrol stations that actually have it, and we can’t go more than 70 mph, so we need to leave early for almost every show!

What’s your soundtrack in the van?

The driver picks the soundtrack. Can be punk rock, hardcore, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift or Gutalax – you never know. Sometimes a podcast or horror audio books.

Do you have a luxury item you take with you?

We always have two mattresses to make a bed in the back of the van. For us it’s kind of luxury.

Are there any van in-jokes that are safe to share with us?

Yes, a lot of them, but when we say them out loud we realise they are only funny for us. But we all have jokes about our digestive system, as sometimes the level of toxicity and pollution in the van is highly exceeded. Doctors and psychologists probably still wonder how we are still alive. 

If you could choose any band alive, which band would you most like to tour with?

That could be For I Am as Hanna is a great cook. Krang would be awesome as well as they love pierogi. Stay Nowhere are a 3 piece band – they would not take much space in the van…

To be honest it’s really hard to tell. We want to tour with everybody – during the last couple of years there were just two bands we would not like to go on tour with, as we don’t like assholes. This is a great result anyway!

CF98 are definitely worth your time. Listen to them on Spotify or Bandcamp, and follow them over on Facebook.

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