Nikolai Fraiture opens up about his new project Summer Moon and The Strokes' future plans
These days The Strokes don't anything terribly quickly, leaving their members plenty of times to pursue other projects. One of them is bassist Nikolai Fraiture and his new outfit Summer Moon, which sees him teaming up with Jane's Addiction's Stephen Perkins, Uh Huh Her's Camila Grey and The Airborne Toxic Event's Noah Harmon.
Summer Moon's debut album With You Tonight is out today (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page) and we spoke to Fraiture about making it and his plans for his day job...
How did Summer Moon come together? How did you all meet?
"We met in Los Angeles through a mutual friend. I sent everyone the record and they were into it. A few weeks later we were playing live TV and some shows in LA."
This is the band’s second line-up with the original set featuring Au Revoir Simone's Erika Spring and The Like's Tennesse Thomas, how is everyone in the new line-up bedding in?
"It feels great. We're all very excited to be playing together but also have each been doing it long enough separately that we know what to expect to a certain extent. When we get together, it's about music and enjoying what we're doing."
How did you want the songs to move on from what you’ve done before in your career?
"It was especially important for me to be able to experiment with different tones and textures. I was listening to a lot of Italo Disco. All the sounds are very bizarre and beautiful. However, they can meander on, but in a good way. With other influences I've acquired over the years, I wanted the songs to be more structured. Though I love the sonic stream of consciousness feel of songs like 'Spacer Woman' by Charlie, I also enjoy when a song gives you what you want. There's a give and take and the balance is not always obvious."
What was the song on the album that took the longest to get right?
"Probably 'Chemical Solution'. All the arpeggiated stuff was played by hand. Getting the rhythm to lock in and feel good with live drum and bass was a bit of a science experiment."
And which came together most quickly?
"'With You Tonight'. That one started with the drum beat and a bass groove and then it went on from there rather quickly."
When did you settle on the title of With You Tonight?
"Not long ago, actually. It's hard to name an album before it's done. Once all the songs were in sequence, it felt right. With You Tonight can be about another person or about the relationship between the music and listener. I can obsess over albums or songs I love and I end up keeping them wherever I go. Hopefully, this album can mean the same to someone else."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Does it have a common theme?
"Music has always been a source of healing. As a listener, these energies are released out into the world and you connect with those that resonate with you. So when I write music, there's always a subconscious undertone of reacting to and dealing with people and the world at large. 'Class A' and 'Chemical Solution' are pretty direct about it. But even a song like 'Girls On Bikes', which on the surface feels light, has an underlying thematic tone of coping with those same pressures."
What lyricists do you look to for inspiration? Are they the same ones you grew up listening to?
"Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen were my favourites growing up. Most lyrics on a blank page can seem lifeless but they are two lyricists where the words can also stand on their own. Shane McGowan, David Byrne. But sometimes simple words carefully delivered can have a momentous effect."
Will you be bringing Summer Moon to the UK for some live shows?
"For sure, it's just a matter of working out schedules."
How are things going with The Strokes? Are you back in the studio?
"Great. We're working on new music and planning to tour for realz."