Nikolai Fraiture

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Nikolai Fraiture
Fraiture plays an electric bass on stage, wearing sunglasses and a denim vest with a patch saying "Have a nice day".
Fraiture performing in 2011
Background information
Birth nameNikolai Philippe Fraiture
Also known asNickel Eye
Born (1978-11-13) November 13, 1978 (age 44)
New York, New York, U.S.
  • Bass guitar
  • vocals
Years active1998–present
Member of

Nikolai Philippe Fraiture[1] (born November 13, 1978)[2] is an American musician best known as the bassist of the American rock band The Strokes. Since co-founding the band in 1998, he has released six studio albums with them. Among other creative projects, Fraiture released a solo record under the name Nickel Eye in 2009 and has been the frontman of the band Summer Moon since 2016.

Early life[edit]

Fraiture was born in New York City to a Franco-Russian mother and French father.[3] He was raised with his older brother Pierre and younger sister Elizabeth in the Yorkville neighborhood of the Upper East Side.[4][5] Fraiture met future bandmate Julian Casablancas at the age of six while attending the Friends School[specify][6][7] and Lycée Français de New York, from which he graduated in 1997.[8] Through Casablancas, Fraiture met future Strokes members Nick Valensi and Fabrizio Moretti while they were teenagers.[7] Fraiture later attended Hunter College[9] with Valensi.[10]

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.[11]


The Strokes[edit]

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.[12][13] 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.[14] Gentles sent their three-track demo to Geoff Travis of Rough Trade Records and their first EPThe Modern Age was released on the label, followed by a tour in England to promote the EP, with Gentles joining them as their manager.[15] After a bidding war, the band signed with RCA in March 2001.[14] Their first album, Is This It, was released in fall 2001. Following the completion of their five-album contract deal with RCA Records in 2013,[16] the band has continued to release new music through Casablancas' Cult Records.[17]

Nickel Eye[edit]

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,[18] The Time of the Assassins was completed a few months later in New York. The album is musically inspired by some of Fraiture'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.[9] Nickel Eye’s first performance was on October 15, 2008 at London’s Borderline venue.[citation needed]

As Nickel Eye, Fraiture released 2014 demo "Same Difference" digitally in 2020.[19][20]

Summer Moon[edit]

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.[21] The group's debut album With You Tonight was released in 2017.[22] As of 2020, the band is working on an EP.[20]

Other collaborations[edit]

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.[23]

On May 19, 2012, for the 37th season finale of Saturday Night Live, Fraiture played bass alongside Arcade Fire and guest/musical host Mick Jagger.[24]

Fraiture is one-half of the performance art project Arts Elektra with his brother Pierre Fraiture, a New York-based mixed medium artist.[25] The duo combines live performance of original rock music compositions with live painting.[26][27] Beginning in 2019, Arts Elektra launched a twelve-act, site-specific piece entitled C'est Le Moment Ou Jamais (It's Now Or Never) at different locations globally. Their first act was performed in April 2019 at the World Trade Center in New York City and the second act was presented that December during Art Basel week at the Miami River Art Fair.[26] The works created are auctioned off to benefit different charities.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Fraiture married artist Ilona "Illy" Jankovich in 2004.[29][30] They have two children, a daughter, Elysia & a son, Phoenix.[31][32]

The family lives in New York City[20] & have lived in the West Village neighborhood for a number of years.[33]

Fraiture & his wife practice Nichiren Buddhism in the Soka Gakkai Buddhist tradition.[34]


Solo discography (as Nickel Eye)
Summer Moon discography
  • With You Tonight (2017)
The Strokes discography


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Nikolai Fraiture".
  3. ^ Male, Andrew (August 2003). "Action. Time. Vision". Mojo.
  4. ^ Strauss, Neil (November 13, 2003). "The Strokes: Elegantly Wasted". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  5. ^ Capobianco, Grace A. (April 5, 2019). "The Strokes Nikolai Fraiture and his brother perform at 7 WTC, to benefit autism". Downtown Magazine. Retrieved November 13, 2020. [Our childhood friend] worked at a video store with us, our local video store on 84th and York (Yorkville).
  6. ^ "The Strokes: Back with a great new album". The Independent. November 26, 2005. Archived from the original on June 21, 2022. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Goodman, Lizzie (2017). "These Guys All Go So Far Back". Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001–2011. New York: HarperCollins/Dey St. pp. 109–118. ISBN 978-0-06-223309-7.
  8. ^ "AALFNY: Find a Classmate". Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Graff, Gary (December 12, 2008). "The Strokes' Fraiture Turns Toward Nickel Eye". Billboard. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  10. ^ Rapp, Allison. "On the Record: Before They Were Big, They Were CUNY – The Brooklyn College Vanguard". Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  11. ^ "Nikolai Fraiture: Different Strokes". Bass Guitar Magazine. August 23, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  12. ^ Kessler, Ted (December 16, 2001). "Ted Kessler meets The Strokes". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  13. ^ "We Talked to The Strokes' Nikolai Fraiture About His New Band Summer Moon". Noisey. August 11, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "The Making of the Strokes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  15. ^ "This Is It: Ten Years of the Strokes". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  16. ^ Roffman, Michael. "The Strokes Wipe the Slate Clean on Comedown Machine". Time. ISSN 0040-781X.
  17. ^ "The Strokes Are Back: Hear Their New EP 'Future Present Past'". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Stream: Strokes Bassist's Solo Project, Nickel Eye". Spin. November 26, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  19. ^ "Nickel Eye's "Same Difference" Review". Cam Brio Music. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  20. ^ a b c Carty, Pat. "Interview: The Strokes Are Back Long Live The Strokes". Hotpress. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  21. ^ "Hear Strokes' Bassist Sing With New Band Summer Moon". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  22. ^ Wasserman, Milo (April 3, 2017). "With You Tonight: Tracking Down Summer Moon's Nikolai Fraiture". Clash Magazine. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  23. ^ "A kind of dream". Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  24. ^ Battan, Carrie. "Watch Arcade Fire and Foo Fighters Perform With Mick Jagger on "Saturday Night Live" Last Night". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  25. ^ "Pierre Fraiture". Saatchi Art. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  26. ^ a b "Arts Elektra presents Les Animaux (Animals)" (PDF). November 2019.
  27. ^ "Arts Elektra | Coming Soon". Ellen Houlihan. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  28. ^ "For Sale: Réveillez-Vous | Webstore". Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  29. ^ "Group Therapy". Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  30. ^ "Robots, Karaoke And Teppanyaki: Behind-The-Scenes On Alexa Chung's Trip To Japan". British Vogue. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  31. ^ "Twins on the way for Strokes guitarist and Brit star". Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  32. ^ "Illy Fraiture on Instagram: "Marceline bat and a Recycling Monster! Phoenix insisted in making his own costume this year!!!!"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  33. ^ David, Mark (July 16, 2013). "Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes) Sells Downtown Digs". Variety. Retrieved November 8, 2020. Property records also reveal that in February 2009 bass player Nikolai Fraiture [lived] in a post-war West Village building... in an apartment he and his wife, Ilona, bought in March 2005
  34. ^ "A Renaissance For Our Family". May 2, 2021. Retrieved May 6, 2021.