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    Tuesday, September 3, 2019

    #ThemeSongTuesday: Sinister Senyorito

    You asked and we delivered. It's time to feature one of the best local wrestling entrance themes today, full stop. Man, sometimes, this column feels a lot like an all-request radio show. A hot new song comes out and you want it to get the love it deserves by having an entire article dedicated to it.

    This week's featured theme is all about the newly-formed team of two OGs in the Philippine pro wrestling scene: Jake De Leon and Ken Warren. Appropriately named the #PWOGs, JDL and Ken Warren shocked everyone at PWR Renaissance 2019 when they debuted as a team and took on 2-time PWR Tag Team Champions The YOLO Twins (and dropped this banger in the process).

    "When we knew we were going to be a tag team," De Leon explains. "We thought long and hard how to go about it and we didn't just want to seem like two singles guys put together." Being a lifelong wrestling fan, JDL has seen many a tag team be composed of two wrestlers with seemingly no binding thread. It's even worse when it shows in a horrible mashup of their themes, with those of JeriShow and The Kabuki Warriors being egregious examples. Taking that lesson in mind, JDL and Ken Warren knew that they had to start with their theme song.

    "The main story we wanted it to portray was how Ken Warren and JDL are OGs of the Philippine Wrestling scene," shares De Leon. "We wanted it to go hard but still have that cool and confident feel to it because that's how an OG is. He can just be cool, confident, and do his own thing because he doesn't care about what others think. That's why he's an OG."

    Knowing what they wanted was the first step. Actually putting it all together was an entirely different process. This was where Sunny Side Sound Studios came in. Rapper NINNO lends his talents to another local entrance theme, previously having done work on JDL's previous theme, along with the rest of Sunny Side Sound Studios. "Originally, we were slated to write a new theme for Ken Warren in a musical style closer to this theme," NINNO says. "But plans changed and #PWOGs became a thing so we shifted our attention to that!"

    Both Philippine Wrestling OGs worked closely with the team in creating a new theme that was brand new and yet retained some distinct and recognizable elements from both individual wrestlers. "We took influences from the rock genre (Ken Warren) and put in some Spanish guitars (JDL)," recalls JDL. "We wanted the music to be able to stand on its own, yet still show off our individual personalities and I believe it does just that."

    Despite being a new, standalone song, "Sinister Senyorito" sounds very much like a remix because of all the familiar elements and influences. It even sounds like it belongs on Reanimation, the Linkin Park remix album from 2002 that spawned from their debut release, Hybrid Theory. "[The theme] draws on a lot of 90s rock and rap," NINNO reveals, "but with a modern twist!"

    You'll hear the entire Sunny Side Sound Studios team at work on the track—which took five days to put together—with NINNO spitting bars in the first verse, Daniel "Scarly" Scarlata dropping the second verse, Jeula Agbayani providing backup vocals, David Lina on drums and guitars, Anton Magno mixing the track and playing the bass, and another local singer you'll recognize on another PWR entrance theme: Roberto Seña of She's Only Sixteen on the hook.

    But just why is this song such a banger?

    This is where the science behind the music comes in, a deep rabbit hole NINNO is more than happy to bring your scribe into. "The song is primarily in F#Minor with a lot of modal things going on," he excitedly points out. "Let's break it down to multiple sections!

    "The intro is a big swell that leads into our synth bass—that returns in a later section—and our old brass section that’s synonymous with JDL," he begins. NINNO then goes into the specifics and points out the soft piano in the background that is meant to add more drama. "The whole section is designed to feel like it’s coming from a distance, hence the EQ and reverb decisions. We take the time to introduce the scratching here too, which will be a prominent instrument for us for the whole song.

    "Then it all goes away, and we’re lead into..."

    "HASHTAG... THAT!" You hear Ken Warren exclaiming the words with bombast. "We recorded 12 different takes of Ken saying that," NINNO laughs. "He should totally be a voice actor because they were all great!"

    Early fans of PWR will remember that Ken Warren used to come out to "So What'cha Want" by The Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill, something Sunny Side Sound Studios pays tribute to in the new track's A section. "You hear a lot of rock elements," beams NINNO, "while retaining the hip-hop feel through the scratches, drum programming, and overall groove. You also have the dial-up sound and Twitter notification sounds scattered rhythmically throughout this section," which he affectionately calls "whiny, white boy rap."

    The B section incorporates a Latin percussion ensemble (using maracas and congos as auxiliary drums) and an organ in the back for what NINNO calls a "Spanish church vibe," bringing the elements of JDL's solo theme to the forefront. This is also where Roberto Seña, a proud, self-confessed smark in his own right, comes in.

    "Behind [Seña]'s vocal performance," NINNO grins, "is some really cool processing I did to make him sound like a Protoss Templar! It disappears as soon as the drums come back in."

    For wrestling fans looking for a reason to headbang to this track, "Sinister Senyorito" offers the C section, which NINNO describes as "just us rocking out on our instruments," serving as the climax of the song. "We always design our entrance theme with the wrestler’s walkout in mind," he assures. "We knew that when this section hit, it was time to fight!"

    Listeners who are of sharp hearing might find some easter eggs that were sprinkled in through the track, including a choir singing, "A-MI-GO" in the second B section. And for those more visually inclined, JDL already shared the entrance in video in full, putting the artistic stylings of Charlie Coralejo on full display.


    The hits keep on coming for 2019 and adding another sure-fire contender for Entrance Theme of the Year only solidifies it as one for the books! But what do you think? Does "Sinister Senyorito" deserve a spot on your ballot? What's your favorite part? Do you think we won't hear this track for long because Ken Warren will have another tag team partner turn on him?

    Sound off in the comments section below!

    Header image taken from Jake De Leon's Facebook page

    Disclosure: Smark Henry is independently managed and operated by a group of local wrestling fans, but includes members affiliated with the Philippine Wrestling Revolution.


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: Sinister Senyorito Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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