Nickle Eye - Another Lone Stroke
3D chats with Nikolai Fraiture – bassist of the Strokes – about his new side project, Nickle Eye, whose Dylan-esque album is out now.
“Hello motherfuckers, I’m back from exile.” litre
It’s been three years since The Strokes released First Impressions of Earth and these words could describe the sentiments of bassist Nikolai Fraiture towards the band’s absence from the musical landscape.
With a new album called The Time of the Assassins – featuring Back From Exile, from which the above quote was taken – Fraiture is the latest member of the New York indie rock kings to release a solo record, following in the footsteps of Albert Hammond, Jr., Fabrizio Moretti (through his group, Little Joy) and a one-off track from frontman Julian Casablancas for Converse last year with Santogold and N*E*R*D.
“It came about mainly from having a lot of time off from The Strokes,” Fraiture says of his desire to release a record. “Every time things were going to pick up again we’d end up having more time off, so from having time and working on music and having a lot more songs, as time went on I had finally had enough for an album and I put it together.”
The band (consisting of Nikolai backed by UK group South) may have only been together since The Strokes went into unofficial hiatus in 2006 but Fraiture’s lyrics have been with him for some time – since he was 19, in fact, when he was inspired by a road trip he took through the US. “I had just not gone back to college. I didn’t see there was much point in going back,” he says. “After reading On The Road and being a kid my age and wanting to do that I took the opportunity when I could and I wanted to do it while I had the chance.”
The Time of the Assassins’ soul is rooted in the ’60s and has an authentically dusty atmosphere. A name that pops up in conversation is Bob Dylan – Nikolai’s croon falling somewhere between the legendary musician’s and his bandmate Casablancas’. Had he done much singing prior to this record-
“No, not really,” he admits. “I mean I did one [performance] – Rolling Stone magazine over here, every year they have a Bob Dylan tribute concert where they have a bunch of people doing Dylan songs and I did one cover of When The Ship Comes In and that was my first foray into the singing world.”
With The Strokes getting back together this month, Fraiture, who’s signed a three-album deal with Rykodisc, says that Nickel Eye may find itself on the backbench for a while after the album’s release and a small US tour – “The Strokes will have priority for sure” – but the 30-year-old admits he’s keen to have a musical outlet away from his main project. So where does he see The Strokes in 2009- What is he feeling approaching their fourth album-
“Hopefully we can progress and put out something different then the usual and individual,” he says. “Since we’ve had the time off, [we can] make something new and amazing…”
WHO: Nickel Eye
WHAT: Time of the Assassins through Rykodisc / Stomp
WHEN: Out now