Not only is it a New Era for the WWE in terms of their performers, it’s also a New Era for their music — for the past few years, longtime WWE composer Jim Johnston has been phased out, replaced with the New York-based production duo of John Alicastro and Mike Lauri, better known as CFO$. The pair doesn’t do many interviews (believe us, we’ve asked), but recently opened their studio doors up to WWE.com to share a bit of their history as well as some insight as to what makes some of their most popular themes so special.
First up is “Catch Your Breath,” the arena-worthy theme for Finn Bálor. Alicastro explains that the original idea for the song actually came from Triple H, which the duo were able to expand upon using all sorts of atmospheric sound effects as well as sampling their own breath for the suspenseful build before the main guitar riff.
The team also went in-depth on “The Rising Sun,” the electric theme for NXT Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura, giving all the props in the world to violinist Earl Maneein for pushing the song over the edge as well as pointing to an unlikely source of inspiration.
“One thing that inspired us was the feel of Japanese video game music,” Alicastro tells WWE.com. “We grew up on The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid. Their soundtracks are brilliant. We wanted to achieve the epic feeling that they all have.”
Of course, who could forget the theme that’s launched a thousand #GLORIOUSBOMBS, Bobby Roode‘s “Glorious Domination.” CFO$ explains they were going for a “Queen meets Muse” vibe, eventually recruiting some friends to add in dozens of gang vocal tracks. The result is, well, glorious.
Last but certainly not least, the duo breaks down “SAWFT Is A Sin,” the banger of a theme song for Enzo Amore and Big Cass. They confirm what everyone already suspected — yes, that is Enzo Amore rapping the whole dang thing — and isolate some of the more random asides in the vocal track to best showcase just how over the top Amore really is.
“The real big thing we wanted to do with Enzo & Cass was make a hip-hop version of The Godfather,” Alicastro says. “The main idea started with the mandolin strumming, creating an Italian atmosphere. Then, we added drums, horns and trombones. From there, we took it into hip-hop territory and made it weird, different and fun.”
The entire interview with the duo is worth a read.