The Strokes' Fraiture Turns Toward Nickel Eye
The Strokes' Fraiture Turns Toward Nickel Eye

As he prepares to roll out his side project, Nickel Eye, next month, Strokes bassist Nikolai Fraiture predicts the group members' various solo activities will influence the music they make when they reconvene in February.

"For any one of us, anything we do outside the band is our first venture away from the Strokes. We've never experienced anything else," Fraiture tells Billboard.com. "I think that it's really everybody's way of kind of regrouping and being themselves again. That way (for) the next album we'll feel fresh again and we'll have new ideas."

Fraiture says he's confident about the Strokes' future after a two year-layoff --- "We're all on the same page," he reports --- but he adds that "no one really knows what's going to happen" when he and his four bandmates meet again.

"We're just getting into the studio. Nothing's set in stone yet," Fraiture says. "We've all been through such different things, we're just gonna see what happens. It's kind of a new chapter for everyone."

Fraiture's Nickel Eye chapter starts with the Jan. 27 release of "The Time of the Assassins," but the idea dates back to when he was 19 and took a cross-country trip after dropping out of New York's Hunter College. Many of the impressions from that trek are included in the lyrics, while the music is drawn from influences such as Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, the Kinks and Frank Black.

"I've always been into music like that," Fraiture says. "It never really found a place in the Strokes, so it was always kind of on the back burner, and now, with the time off, I had the opportunity explore it."

He recorded "The Time of the Assassins," with the band South -- who Fraiture met through his wife -- at South Studios in London; friends Regina Spektor and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner guest. Fraiture is taking Nickel Eye on the road in January; he's lined up three shows opening for the Raveonettes and is currently booking more dates that will be announced soon.