I had a midnight appuntamento with Nic Cester (Jet) who was calling from Milan, Italy. During the conversation he was most likely overlooking a quaint riviera and most definitely sipping on his third cocktail for the evening. Cester has reasonable grounds to enjoy a beverage or two given he has just finished his first solo album Sugar Rush (Bloodlines).
The title of the album was pure chance, having emerged from a song writing session as the only audible or coherent phrase. ‘When I’m trying to write a melody I make some mumbo-jumbo…sugar rush was one of the only words that made sense…unfortunately there’s no artistic genius behind it, it was just randomness’.
I asked Cester if he wished a solo album had manifested several years before now. ‘There’s so many bands doing things for the sake of it, I wanted to make something meaningful and it was just the right time’. The album was Produced by Jim Abbiss (Artic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age) and definitely has the Abbiss finger print. ‘Jim really pulled the project together…in fact, the one annoying thing was that he made sure the project was completed…I couldn’t take my time’.
Spending time in Italy has resulted in Chester working with the Italian band ‘Milano Elettrica’ which he will be touring with throughout the next year. Cester is not the first pop star to move to a villagio, Mike Patton (Faith No More) for example connected with his Italian roots and released his Italian album Mondo Cane (2010). Despite not yet bumping into Patton, Cester had no regrets moving to Italy. ‘I decided to move to a place where I could start from scratch and build something new…I had to learn Italian of course which was a huge challenge’.
As Cester warmly embraced his fourth cocktail (Italian Sunrise #2) I asked him if he found it difficult to separate his solo work from a ‘Jet’ song. ‘Each of the songs on the album could have been a Jet song. If I took the songs to Jet then they would play them like Jet…so Milano Elettrica interprets them in their way…the main difference is that Jet was a democracy which meant everyone in the band had to accept the song…some of the songs on the album [Sugar Rush] would not have made it past the song writing stage with Jet’. This isn’t to say Sugar Rush is a record of Jet B sides, but rather a showcase of Cester’s complete song writing palette.
With two shows in NSW and Victoria on the horizon I asked Cester whether Adelaide will get a chance to see him perform with Milano Elettrica. ‘I’m putting these shows together as well as doing a few Jet shows in Australia, then hopefully doing a full tour in 2018’.
Definitely worth keeping an eye out for future tours and in the mean time the best chance for South Australia to see Nic Cester perform is at the Handpicked Festival on November 11 as the front man of Jet.
By James Hickey