Records don't often sound as effortless as Ladylike's self-titled debut. The Tempe-based power-pop combo subtly incorporates disparate elements of '70s pop, piano rock, and Queen bombast, topping it all off with effervescent melodies.
The band, made up of Rob Kroehler, Ryan Casey, Ethan Hillis, Alex Tighe, and Austin Owen (Disclosure: Kroehler is a regular contributor to New Times' Night and Day section), says it's simply a matter of rolling of their sleeves and getting to work.
"This is a really, really cool job," Casey says. "But it's a job, and we want to do it well."
The band gave entertaining quotes that were left on the cutting room floor as we assembled this week's feature. So read on for Ladylike's outtakes.
Kroehler on how much lyrics matter: "For me, it's about finding the perfect lyrical pairing with the perfect musical pairing, [finding a way] to match the musical content with the lyrical mood. For me, that is the zenith of songwriting. For me, guys who might even be short on musical talent, guys like Springsteen, that write songs that lyrically resonated. They are lyrical mirror images of that musical mood, and they had a band that could bring those songs to life. You can do that, and you've got a perfect pop song."
Casey on Wilco bassist John Stirratt (and our interview with him): "He's what, 45 years old or 50? There's sort of peace you can have with yourself as a musician in a band. He's a bass player, and bass players are fantastic, and he's a great bass player. But traditionally you don't think of a bass player as a big deal most of the time. But when you hear about how he works with in the band, how he fulfills himself creatively in the band and outside of the band, to me, that's what being a musician should be about. So side projects? Fuck yes!"
Tighe on putting in overtime: "I went to Austin's [Owens, bassist, not present for interview] after work one day, and we recorded strings till six in the morning . . . the only reason we worked on it that long, the only reason we paid the violin player extra to keep working was that, if we didn't get that part done, it was going to drive us crazy. I mean, it's like one of those blackout things. I remember being there, but I don't remember any details. We just knew what we wanted to get done."
Hillis on his one regret about the album: "I honestly wish I had little more time to work on drums [laughs]."
Kroehler on moving on: "I went through a honeymoon period with the record, but honestly I don't even think about it. What's next? What kind of songs do I want to be writing right now? How do I want to define myself as a songwriter, and what does that look like for this band?"
Ladylike is scheduled to perform Friday, May 25, at Crescent Ballroom.