Northeast Texas is Tuning in to Channel 8


When Tyler garage rock duo Channel 8 grabs a hold of listeners’ ear drums, nostalgia tends to overcome and invoke flashbacks of the version of yourself that has a desire to break away from routine.

Doing just that, Channel 8 bandmates Patrick Saikin (guitar and vocals) and Casey Coomer (drums and vocals) bring a new flavor to the music scene of East Texas. Offering a musical gusto of grunge and gritty lyrics, the duo’s music might be something new and fresh to most but for Coomer and Saikin they are simply carrying out a passion that was ignited long ago.

“I was given a guitar of my own at the ripe age of six — I suppose I haven’t looked back since,” 26-year-old Coomer said as he recalls his musical point of no return. Coomer picked up the drums at age 11 and played throughout his time at Winona High School and he isn’t setting down the sticks anytime soon. “Only death will stop me,” Coomer added.

For 24-year-old Saikin, music has played an important role in his life as well, playing the guitar for more than six years now.

The duo’s album “Space Animals,” released last year, features some riveting lyrics like “You look and find the crystal ball, the witch’s eye should have it all. Is it fake, is it real, is it somethin’ I can feel?” Some of the songs cut deep while others just set the stage for pure fun.

When it comes to inspiration for the music they create, there really isn’t a clear-cut answer.

“We are just two goofy dudes that like to make jokes and have fun,” Coomer said. “I’m inspired by anyone with the guts to play their heart out.”

“I garner inspiration from an entire world outside of music itself,” Saikin said. “Anything and everything has the potential to inspire me at any moment.”

While Channel 8 brings something new to the table of tunes coming out of the Upper East Side, new isn’t always easy when it comes to honing in on the genre’s receptive audience.

“You know that one scene in the original ‘Total Recall’ when Arnold Schwarzenegger’s eyes pop out of his head while he’s struggling to breathe? I feel like that most of the time,” Saikin said.

“Sometimes you have to hit the ground harder that it hits you. We’ve spent a lot of time fighting back,” Coomer said.

With the help from hosting venues such as What about Kabob, Lago del Pino, Clicks, Double Dave’s Pizza, Cork Food and Drink, The D.I.Y Spot, and more, the duo is being heard and after three years they have found a grand audience that likes what they hear.

“We’ve been able to spread the word better and get this town movin’ and groovin’,” Coomer said. “The creative buzz in this area is really starting to take hold, not only in music but in all things.”

According to Saikin, the music scene in East Texas will continue to evolve so long as there is support for all things local.

“It will keep growing as long as people continue to go to local shows, no matter where they are held,” Saikin said.

Channel 8 is excited about the year ahead. Their acoustic EP “The Tape” releases January 1 for cassette or download and the band’s next full album is projected to release in spring.

When asked what the two would like to see come out of Channel 8 in the future, it is clear the duo will continue to progress in achieving their dream – all the while keeping the humor that locals have come to love.

“I’d like to start touring to be honest. We both work full time so it would be killer to be out and about,” Coomer said. “Hit Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and start working our way out and up.”

“Married. Three kids - two girls, one boy,” Saikin said.

Channel 8’s music is available for preview and purchase at Stay up-to-date with local shows and events by following the band’s Facebook and Twitter pages. 

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