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 (1979-11-13) November 13, 1979 (age 40)
New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Bass guitar
  • vocals
Years active1998–present
Associated acts

Nikolai Philippe Fraiture[1] (born November 13, 1979) is an American musician and bassist for American rock band The Strokes.

Early life[edit]

Fraiture grew up in New York City with his Russian mother and French father.[2] He met future bandmate Julian Casablancas while attending the Lycée Français de New York at the age of six,[3] 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.[4] Fraiture attended Hunter College[5] with The Strokes' lead guitarist Nick Valensi.


The Strokes[edit]

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.[6][7] 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.[8] 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.[9] After a bidding war, the band signed with RCA in March 2001.[8] 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,[10] the band has continued to release new music through Casablancas' Cult Records.[11]

Solo work and side projects[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,[12] 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.[5] 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.

On Saturday, May 19, 2012 for the 37th Season Finale of Saturday Night Live Nikolai played bass alongside Arcade Fire and guest/musical host Mick Jagger.

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.[13] The group's debut album With You Tonight was released in 2017.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Fraiture has an older brother named Pierre and a younger sister named Elizabeth. He married Ilona "Illy" Jankovich in 2004.[15] They have two children: a daughter, Elysia, and a son, Phoenix.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Male, Andrew (August 2003). "Action. Time. Vision". Mojo.
  3. ^ "The Strokes: Back with a great new album". The Independent. November 26, 2005. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  4. ^ "Nikolai Fraiture: Different Strokes". Bass Guitar Magazine. August 23, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Graff, Gary (December 12, 2008). "The Strokes' Fraiture Turns Toward Nickel Eye". Billboard. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Kessler, Ted (December 16, 2001). "Ted Kessler meets The Strokes". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  7. ^ "We Talked to The Strokes' Nikolai Fraiture About His New Band Summer Moon". Noisey. August 11, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "The Making of the Strokes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  9. ^ "This Is It: Ten Years of the Strokes". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  10. ^ Roffman, Michael. "The Strokes Wipe the Slate Clean on Comedown Machine". Time. ISSN 0040-781X.
  11. ^ "The Strokes Are Back: Hear Their New EP 'Future Present Past'". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Stream: Strokes Bassist's Solo Project, Nickel Eye". Spin. November 26, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  13. ^ "Hear Strokes' Bassist Sing With New Band Summer Moon". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  14. ^ Wasserman, Milo (April 3, 2017). "With You Tonight: Tracking Down Summer Moon's Nikolai Fraiture". Clash Magazine. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  15. ^ "Group Therapy". Retrieved November 1, 2017.