Formed in 1998, The Strokes galvanised a whole generation of guitar bands who, following the grunge-swamped 1990s, were stumbling blindly into a new millennium. Like The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, and Sonic Youth before them, The Strokes – in everything from their leather jackets to their jet fuel riffs – captured the sound of New York. To this day, tracks like ‘Last Nite’ and ‘Someday’ still evoke the unflinching optimism of the city in those very first years of the 2000s. In this isolated recording of the rhythm tracks for ‘Someday’, it’s clear how much of The Strokes’ exuberant energy was a product of Nikolai Fraiture and Fabrizio Moretti’s interlocking grooves.
The Strokes started performing together as teenagers after meeting at their high school in Manhattan. Nikolai Fraiture joined an early incarnation of The Strokes after Julian Casablancas, who was a childhood friend, invited him to come along to one of the band’s rehearsals and thrash through a few songs with them. Fraiture immediately added something to the band’s sound, filling out the group’s sonic palette in a way that seemed to tie everything together so effortlessly.
Having found the missing piece, Casablancas, guitarist Nick Valensi, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti began rehearsing every night. Over the next two years, The Strokes honed their live show, hammering out a 14-song setlist in Manhattan’s rock clubs and lounges night after night. ‘Last Nite’, ‘This Life’ (an early draft of ‘Trying Your Luck’) and ‘Someday’ were all born during this time, and would eventually find their way into The Strokes’ 2001 debut album Is This It
Remembering those early days gigging around New York in a 2015 interview, Fraiture said: “Mercury Lounge for us was always a happening place in the early days, especially for rock ‘n’ roll in New York. I feel like the scene kind of went to Brooklyn for a little bit. What’s kind of replaced that feeling is Baby’s All Right, playing there is kind of the same feeling. I remember playing at Mercury Lounge. People are really excited about the music, it’s a good vibe.”
Fraiture is famous for his sleek, thumping basslines and smooth tone. This isolated recording offers a look into the bassist’s understated but expertly delivered playing.
Make sure you check it out below.