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Fraiture performing in 2011
|Birth name||Nikolai Philippe Fraiture|
|Also known as||Nickel Eye|
November 13, 1978 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
Fraiture grew up in New York City with his Russian mother and French father. He met future bandmate Julian Casablancas while attending the Lycée Français de New York at the age of six, and learned to speak fluent French. Fraiture received his first bass at 16 when his grandfather gave it to him as a graduation present, but Fraiture gave it away to Casablancas and did not resume playing until two years later. Fraiture attended Hunter College with The Strokes' lead guitarist Nick Valensi.
Nikolai Fraiture took up bass when he was around 18 and started playing in a band with childhood friend Julian Casablancas, guitarist Nick Valensi, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti. The Strokes was formed in 1998 when guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. joined the group. After a year of rehearsing and playing at small venues, and several rejections from record companies, the group caught the interest of Ryan Gentles, then a booker at New York's Mercury Lounge. Gentles sent their three-track demo to Geoff Travis of Rough Trade Records and their first EP The Modern Age was released on the label, followed by a tour in England to promote the EP, with Gentles joining them as their manager. After a bidding war, the band signed with RCA in March 2001. Their first album, Is This It, was released in fall 2001. Following the completion of their 5-album contract deal with RCA Records in 2013, the band has continued to release new music through Casablancas' Cult Records.
Solo work and side projects
Fraiture started his side project, Nickel Eye, during the hiatus after First Impressions of Earth. He enlisted the help of South, a UK band introduced to him by a friend, as his backing band. Nickel Eye recorded some demos at South Studios in Hackney, London. With some guest appearances by Nick Zinner of the New York City-based band Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Regina Spektor, The Time of the Assassins was completed a few months later in New York. The album is musically inspired by some of Nikolai's favorite artists, such as Neil Young, Frank Black, Leonard Cohen, and The Kinks. The Time of the Assassins was released on January 27, 2009 on Rykodisc. Nickel Eye’s first performance was on October 15, 2008 at London’s Borderline venue.
In 2007 Fraiture composed the music and starred in the movie "A Kind of Dream" with wife Illy Fraiture. The movie was a 30-minute black and white silent film written and directed by Danny Velez.
In 2016, Fraiture started a new band Summer Moon with Jane’s Addiction’s Stephen Perkins (drums), Uh Huh Her’s Camila Grey (keyboardist and vocalist), and The Airborne Toxic Event's Noah Harmon (guitar), with Fraiture providing vocals and bass for the group. The group's debut album With You Tonight was released in 2017.
Fraiture has an older brother named Pierre and a younger sister named Elizabeth. He married Ilona "Illy" Jankovich in 2004. They have two children: a daughter, Elysia, and a son, Phoenix.
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