Scoville Unit

Scoville Unit is the recording and songwriting project of Gandhar Savur and a group of close collaborators. The band has quietly amassed a catalogue of distinctive songs over its long on-and-off existence.

The band originally started as a vehicle for Savur’s songwriting and recording following the breakup of his previous band El Secondhand. El Secondhand had gained a reputation in the underground punk/hardcore scene for their explosive live shows. But after years of aggressive touring of the basements and DIY spaces throughout the far corners of the United States, the group imploded and Savur found himself bandless, burnt out, and with a desire to explore his more classic pop-leaning songwriting tendencies.

With the assistance of longtime music collaborators Drew Isleib and Tony Senes, Savur wrote and recorded debut LP Everybody Knows under fortuitous circumstances. Intending to meet up for a weekend to demo a few of Savur's songs at Senes' basement studio in New Haven CT, a severe blizzard trapped the group of musicians in the studio for a week, and they exited with the basis of a full album recorded on 1/4 inch analog tape. What resulted was Everybody Knows, heralded as a lo-fi masterpiece first by the band's peers, and then also gaining high praise from the press and college radio community (hitting #1 at many college stations throughout the country). A significant pivot from his punk rock roots, the album showcases Savur's classic pop songwriting heavily influenced by Elvis Costello, Buddy Holly and The Beach Boys, an ode to all things classic pop.

After supporting the album with multiple tours of the US and an impactful tour of the U.K, where they quickly gained a reputation as an exciting and unpredictable live act, the trio quickly began work on recording a follow up album. Closed Universe displayed a bigger and more dynamic side of the band, with a delivery colored by classic songwriters like the Cars, the Pixies, and The Smithereens. Savur's songwriting, and the production of the tracks that comprised the album, had expanded significantly; the lo-fi twee infused pop that Scoville Unit had become known for had given way to big guitars and elements of prog and classic rock.

Years later, Before It Began was released; the LP is a collection of songs which were actually written and recorded in 2002, prior to the release of the debut Scoville Unit record and before the actual formation of the band. Largely a collaboration between Savur and Drew Isleib, ex- El Secondhand bandmate turned recording engineer Brian Buccellato, and Savur's then-girlfriend (now wife) Maria Lourido, Before It Began showcases a more intimate side to Savur's songwriting, undoubtedly influenced by the 90's guitar rock that he devoured as a teen. Due to a flood in Buccellato’s basement studio which halted production, the nearly completed album was never finished. Buried in the archives, the unmixed tracks were unearthed, finalized and mixed 15 years after the original sessions had taken place. The album was subsequently released by Ernest Jenning Record Co. to memorialize another collection of Savur's songs representing an important chapter (or epilogue) of the Scoville Unit story. While stylistically different from the two previous albums, the songs display Savur’s characteristic songwriting.

In 2017, Savur reconnected with long time collaborators –Tony Senes, Drew Isleib, and Kevin Shelbourne (lead guitarist of El Secondhand), as well as new collaborators such as bassist Colleen McClowery and drummer Rob Hunsicker, to begin developing new songs. Hunsicker’s powerful drumming helped the band forge into faster and heavier territory that marries Savur’s pop sensibilities with his punk rock roots. The band, now comprised of Savur, Isleib, Shelbourne and Hunsicker, (and under the spiritual and production guidance of Tony Senes), is putting finishing touches on a new album which will be released in 2019 and accompanied with a string of live dates.

Tour Dates

Scoville Unit - Scoville Unit
September 6, 2019
Ernest Jenning Record Co./Bombay Dream
Scoville Unit - Closed Universe
October 31, 2006
Ernest Jenning Record Co.
Scoville Unit - Everybody Knows
March 23, 2004
Ernest Jenning Record Co.
Scoville Unit - Before It Began (The Early Recordings)
August 25, 2017
Ernest Jenning Record Co.