How was born the unlikely friendship between Philippe Djian, Stephan Eicher and Antoine de Caunes?

The three friends met more than thirty years ago. They have since established strong professional but also friendly ties. In “Le grand atelier”, Antoine de Caunes and Stephan Eicher confided in their relationship but did not forget to mention the third thief of the trio, the writer Philippe Djian, whose creations have punctuated the musical career of the Swiss artist.




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Stephan Eicher and Antoine de Caunes: a long-standing friendship

Stephan Eicher recounts his first meeting with Antoine de Caunes: “We were with Gilles Verlant [journaliste et animateur radio], and you invited me for Les enfants du rock, I believe. I was singing ‘Chanson Bleue’ and I didn’t dare look people in the eye. My record label told me it was never going to work. You came with Gilles and you said you liked it very much. And that changed the record company’s mind.”

It was the beginning of a beautiful and long friendship. Antoine de Caunes confides in what immediately seduced him about the musician: “A lot of things I liked. I learned to discover Stéphan by knowing him and above all what I liked was the impression of crossing the path of an adventurer, from someone who had first dabbled in somewhat noisy electronic music, with loops, who worked with machines. Then, he composed very soft, very simple, acoustic melodies, and then went electric. He likes to change course like that, at will, while searching, he’s a real explorer. And then we fall under the spell of a man like Stéphan. A man who is very cheerful, who is funny and deeply surprising, always. I have not seen two concerts that were alike.”

Their friendship was then displayed on screen. While Antoine de Caunes was a columnist for the show “Nowhere else”, and Stephan Eicher was invited, he had made an anthology parody of his friend, with a wig and a pronounced accent. In “Le grand atelier”, he looks back on this moment: “He has self-mockery Stephan, and so do I.”

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Stephan Eicher speaks of Antoine de Caunes with great friendship and praises his qualities: “When Antoine loves something, whether it’s a book, a record, or a film – even food – he sends it to you. He’s really a generous person.”

During the “Grand atelier” the famous song is evoked “No Friend Like You”, and it then takes on its full meaning, as these two friends are reunited. But it also makes it possible to evoke Philippe Djian, lyricist of this song. It was Antoine de Caunes who introduced Philippe Djian to Stephan Eicher.

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With Philippe Djian, a beautiful friendly (and musical) trio

It was first Antoine de Caunes who met Philippe Djian, during a broadcast. The host of “Poppop” recount : “I had done a subject on him for the program ‘Rapido’. I had gone to find him at home at the time, when he lived in Fitou. He had built his house with his bare hands and had a small mule, I remember. He had written 37°2 in the morning and was wearing leather.”

The meeting between the writer and Stephan Eicher is then due to Leonard Cohen, in a sense. Antoine de Caunes tells how he put them in contact, without prior intention: “I wanted to do another show with Philippe Djian and I offered to invite a musician, to organize a meeting. First, he told me that he wanted to meet Leonard Cohen, but he didn’t was not available, he was in his distant Canada. As a second option, he told me about Stephan, whose music I already loved.”

The affinities were not predictable as long both men are shy and reservedas Antoine de Caunes tells us: “I had absolutely no idea how it was going to be between the two, knowing that Stephan was indeed a very shy person and that Philippe is beyond reserved. He has since opened his chakras. But at the time, this meeting between the two men was quite unlikely.”

The friendly bond was established all the same, thanks again to a twist of fate, as Antoine de Caunes explains: “We organized a shoot in Biarritz, where Philippe Djian lived at the time. And then the shoot went well. Except that, when we got back to Paris, we realized that we had to do everything again because that there had been a problem with the camera, so we redid everything a week later. It is an understatement to say that the ice was broken.

For Stephan Eicher, it would not have come to this without his two acolytes. He says it with great humility: “Realizing all these coincidences that made us meet, I tell myself that I would not be here without them. I really would not be sitting here, in this sublime program, in this excellent radio.”




50 mins

How was born the unlikely friendship between Philippe Djian, Stephan Eicher and Antoine de Caunes?