"I think we've, over time, learned to do a fairly decent job of taking a song and learning how to let it become what it needs to become," Kroehler says. "I think we're probably more painstakingly aware of the details than a lot of bands are. But I think we've done a good job of learning how to just get the idea, and then see where the song really wants to go. We'll spend an hour or two hours on a bar of music — it's not really so much about who we're trying to emulate, but where the song wants to go and how we can get there."

It sounds mundane, Casey says, but the fact is simple: Ladylike is a job. And though Hillis is more than open to the idea of cosmic inspiration for songs — channeling some sort of great pop-rock ghost — the band's approach is ultimately a blue-collar one, a no-bullshit one. "We take all these ideas, and we get intentional about them," he says.

Kroehler rolls out a list of songwriters he admires — Springsteen, Petty, Dylan — and states that their success lies in the ability to blend and match the band's lyrical content to the music.

Ladylike belly up at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.
Andrea Calo
Ladylike belly up at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.

"I've been in bands — I think we all have — where we've finished songs with a full arrangement in one hour," says Tighe. "We could do that, but it doesn't happen here because we take the time to try and find that lyrical content."

As for that other Ladylike? Well, I'm sure the folks getting paid to write their songs approach things the same way.

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