“I’ve had a little bit to drink, I’m onto my fourth cocktail,” Nic Cester says nonchalantly. “But it’s all research.”

It’s nearly midnight on a Tuesday as the songwriter sits at his newly-opened restaurant, the Sixième Bistro in Milan. Seven years on from leaving Melbourne rock group Jet, and having lived in three different cities since departing Australia in 2010, his surroundings reflect just how much things have changed now that he’s releasing his debut solo album, Sugar Rush.

Formed in 2001 by brothers Nic and Chris, Jet experienced their first break after supporting fellow Melbourne rockers The Specimens, before being offered their first signing by Elektra Records and releasing three albums that saw unprecedented success in the UK and the US.

However, their shot to fame was also marred by the consequences of not dealing with emotional turmoil, with the brothers choosing to push on with relentless touring despite their father’s death in 2004, and the band calling it quits in 2012.

While the four-piece reunited to support Bruce Springsteen in January this year, also playing a string of headline shows at Twilight at Taronga, the band are focused on other efforts now, and Cester’s marked change is punctuated by his feelings of calm and confidence, as he thinks about the release of Sugar Rush with his new band The Milano Elettrica.

“I’m really proud of the album, and the band are unbelievably good – in fact, I’m probably the worst musician in my own band,” he chuckles.