High from the completion of his debut solo album Sugar Rush, Jet front man, Nic Cester phoned in from his restaurant in Milan in to chat about his hazy days as a rock ‘n’ roll superstar, brotherly love and fatherhood for the first time.
“To be honest, after Jet I wasn’t even sure what to do, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to keep pursuing music,” Cester says. Aussie rock royalty Jet ruled the airwaves for a decade before officially calling it quits in 2012. “The last few years were tough, it was a bit of a hard slog. The way that it all ended was kind of unfortunate and we didn’t end on good terms.”
At this point, Cester knew he needed to gain some perspective. “I moved away and lived in Berlin for a few years. That allowed me the opportunity to completely start fresh with a clean slate in a new country where I didn’t know anyone and nobody knew me. Once I moved, I felt really liberated.”
After Berlin, Cester and his now wife Pia, moved to Italy where his family has strong roots, and he slowly began to ease himself back into the studio. “Coming out of the fog of Jet was a long process of about three years. Just trying to work out what to do next,” he says. “It took some time because I’d rather do something whole-heartedly and do it well than just put something out for the hell of it.”
Despite taking his time, Cester admits his early solo recordings were received with mixed reviews. “I did a couple of demos that included my first attempts at writing songs again and I sent them to a friend of mine and I was met with a really lukewarm response from him. I was so pissed off!” he laughs. “I thought ‘Fuck it! I’m going to sit down and I’m going to write something good,’ and the track ‘Hard Times’ happened right in that moment.”
Sugar Rush is a 12 track roller-coaster ride into the mind of one of our finest singer-songwriters. “I really wanted to push myself and do different things, and all the songs on the album are unique but ‘Who You Think You Are’ is probably the furthest away from Jet, at least from my own past anyway.
“I really like that one as well because when I started working on it my brother Chris was visiting me in Berlin and he helped a little bit in shaping the sound,” Cester adds. “He played drums on it and moved it in a slightly different direction. It was nice to be able to collaborate a little bit with my brother again, and I’m happy to say that we [all the members of Jet] are getting along really well now.”
While it’s true Jet has reformed to play a handful of gigs in Japan early next year, Cester has his mind on other things, like food and family. He recently opened Sixième Bistro in Milan’s Darsena district. “I’m actually here right now. I had dinner with my business partner, Sergio, who is the drummer in my new band The Milano Elettrica. “My family comes from more of a food background than a music background actually so I’ve always grown up in that culture.
“One thing I definitely appreciate now at this stage of my life is diversity. When I was doing Jet it was Jet 24 hours a day seven days a week,” he says. “I like having different projects and doing different things, it’s a bit more simulating, and I think they can feed into each other as well.”
His all-Italian live touring band The Milano Elettrica will appear alongside Cester at a couple of Australian shows to celebrate the release of Sugar Rush, but as for his plans for the future, the contented ex-pat will be taking some time off to experience another first.
“My wife’s pregnant and we’re going to have a baby in January so that’s the biggest priority. I’m going to put a bit of a pause on this for a few months so I try to work out how to be a dad!”
Release: Sugar Rush out Friday Nov 3