From the heart of New Jersey, Scoville Unit introduces a unique flavor to the indie rock scene.
Formed by college friends Drew Isleib and Gandhar Savur, the group embodies their diverse musical backgrounds. Savur brings punk-influenced melodies, shaped by his tenure with El Secondhand, which pair seamlessly with Isleib's bass mastery and acoustic songwriting.
Adding to the unit are lead guitarist Kevin Shelbourne and drummer Rob Hunsicker, each adding their own flair to the mix. Their latest release, "See What Can Be," is a medley of musical narratives which features their newest single, "Firepit."
"Firepit" is a nostalgic journey into the memory of backyard gatherings around a warm fire. The song's melody, accented by 50s-inspired guitar riffs and rhythmic drum patterns, encapsulates the tales shared amongst friends, romantic dilemmas, and the bittersweet allure of the past.
All this is chased down with a swig of whiskey, a fitting metaphor for the warmth and intimacy that the song evokes. The song's bridge section adds a touch of psychedelia, creating a hazy late-night ambiance that further immerses listeners into the story.
Scoville Unit has created a corresponding music video and the song's release. The footage, viewed through the lens of a vintage camcorder, invites viewers to share a fireside evening with the band. As the night progresses, the footage morphs into a colorful, psychedelic kaleidoscope, reflecting the auditory journey of the song itself.
"Firepit" is available now on all streaming platforms.
Hi Scoville Unit, and welcome to BuzzMusic. We really enjoyed listening to "Firepit." Can you walk us through the production process and how this release came together?
Gandhar Savur: When we originally wrote the song, it was based around a simple acoustic riff, but as we were recording it, we played with the rhythmic elements of it and really focused on that. We also tried to make the arrangement trippier as the song progressed. The idea is that a night around a fire with friends tends to get hazier as you get into the later hours of the evening… so we wanted to allow the song to take that same journey.
This song evolved a lot from the initial sketches to the finished product. Still, I suppose that is the fun of not being in a rush to record - you get to throw ideas around and see what sticks. The song is the third single of our new album, See What Can Be, released in June. We have been working on writing and recording the album since the pandemic and are very happy to now have the album out there in the world. We also have a video for "Firepit," a visual collage of us hanging around a firepit all night, playing our instruments, etc. There was no script for the video; it was basically - here is some wood, a match, a case of beer, and a couple of guitars; do your thing, and we'll film it. Our video director magically turned that into a very cool video.
How have your musical backgrounds and tastes influenced the sound of the band?
GS: All four of us have different musical backgrounds, but there is a tasty bubblegum center in the Venn diagram of the Scoville Unit. Drew is a true coffee-shop-styled singer-songwriter; he has toured the country numerous times with just an acoustic guitar - something I could never do myself. I personally have always been a band guy.
Musically I like many different stuff, but The Beatles are my most considerable influence. I generally like simple stuff with very strong melodies and harmonies. But I also grew up playing in punk bands, and that influence makes its way into a lot of our stuff; it's not punk exactly, but it's just slightly harder and faster than your typical indie band.
Kevin grew up as a metalhead guitarist and can play most songs by Slayer, Iron Maiden, and Megadeth note for note. We are lucky that he graces us with his presence in this band- he probably does it because he secretly has a huge soft spot for Oasis (Whoops, sorry, Kevin - the secret's out!). And Rob is one of those guys who say, "I like everything," and actually means it. He would be just as happy playing drums in a commercial pop band or pretty much any other genre- but he grew up playing indie rock and punk, so playing our style of rock is no problem for him, and we're very lucky to have him in the band as well.
What do you hope listeners take away from "Firepit?"
GS: Sitting around a fire with friends has always been one of my favorite things, particularly when we wrote this album; we were all doing much of that. We wanted to create a song that gives people that same fun, sentimental feeling of a night around a fire, sharing stories and memories with friends and loved ones.
If your music were a season, which one would it be?
GS: This album would be summer. We wanted this album to be light, carefree, and fun. We're not trying to make an artistic statement or redefine rock and roll. This album was created through friendship and good times, and hopefully, that shines through in the tunes.
What's next for Scoville Unit?
GS: Lots more shows to support the record. We've also got a couple of exciting tour opportunities in the works, and hopefully, those will pan out. And then it's on to the next album!