In 1994 Jens Oettrich, Bernd Burhoff and Oliver Froning started a techno project, which they named “Dune” after their favorite movie “Dune” (“Dune – Der Wüstenplanet” in Germany). They created the now infamous “Hardcore vibes”, which they intended to be a one off release, believing it would achieve only mediocre success, possibly becoming popular on the club charts. However, they were to be proven very wrong!!! The song entered the charts and kept climbing and climbing, finally reaching its peak position of No. 5 on the official German Charts. The song became a huge club hit throughout Europe.
For their second release, Dune chose the old Rozalla hit “Are you ready to fly” and made use of the vocal talents of Tina Lagao. It was around this second release that the now infamous Dune symbol appeared. The symbol itself was designed by Eike König (Eike’s Grafischer Hort) and, while it has no actual meaning, it provided the group with a readily identifiable trade mark. “Are you ready to fly” was successful and reached No.12 in the German Charts.
It was around this time that it was decided that a full album of Dunematerial was needed to satisfy the fans. Finally at the end of 1995 the first album, simply entitled “Dune”, appeared. Containing a mixture of hard techno beats and catchy vocals, the album achieved a respectable chart placing of No. 21. Among the tracks on the album was the song “The Spice”, which obviously draws it’s inspiration from the film “Dune” containing references to the planet Arakvis and the fabled spice over which the conflict occurs in the film. The album contains a number of vocalists such as Jimmy Miller (“Hardcore vibes, that’s I run things, yeah-ee-yeah”), Tina Lagao and even Jens niece Janine Kelly (“This one’s dedicated to all the ravers in the nation!”), who at the time was only 11 years old. In fact, Janine’s vocal talents later reappeared on the DJ Raw track “Come alive”. Tina Lagao did the vocals for the next single “Can’t stop raving” but around this time it was decided that one of the dancers Verena von Strenge would become the female vocalist for Dune. The live line up now consisted of Oliver on keyboards, Verena on vocals, and dancers Anna Alcos and Tahiti (Tahiti was later to be replaced by Katja von dem Berge).
However, “Can’t stop raving” was to be the song the would break Dune onto the European market in a big way. The single version of “Can’t stop raving” was a completely re-worked version of that found on the album. The backing track was completely different and an additional verse was written to complement the already well-knownline “I can’t stop raving”. The song was a huge success, achieving top 10 positions in Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands and became a huge radio hit even in countrieswhere the single was never released. This success made it clear to everyone that Dune would have to continue! The group ended 1995 with 3 top 20 hits (2 of which were top 10!!) and a top 30 album and promised to return in 1996 with even better music.
Following the success of 1995 Dune decided that, for the group to continue, a permanent vocalist was required! The producers didn’t have to look too far because a vocalist was already among them, Verena. With a full-time vocalist on board, Dune set about work on their second album.
The first new material from this album, later to be titled “Expedicion”, was the single “Rainbow to the stars” which to this day remains the favourite Dune song of the producers!! The first single to feature Verena on vocals, “Rainbow to the stars” again reached the upper end of the charts, peaking at no.12. The song was to remain on the charts for nearly 3 months!! The album “Expedicion” also achieved a top 20 chart position (no.17).The album differed to the first album in that Dune now hada female vocalist and the songs were now done in a fast-dance style rather than the techno style of the first album.
The 2nd Expedicion single appeared in the summer of 1996. “Hand In Hand” was to prove to be a huge success, matching the top 10 position of “Can’t Stop Raving” in a number of European countries. The single version was re-worked to include a children’s choir and different lyrics to those found on the album. The video for the song took it’s inspiration from the fairytale “The Pied Piper of Hamlin”
The final single from “Expedicion” was “Million Miles From Home”. The song had the honor of being chosen as the official song in Germany for the 30th birthday of “Star Trek”. The song again achieved a top 20 position in Germany and entered the Dutch top 10 as well.
In the summer of 1996, around the time of the release of “Million Miles From Home”, Dune went on tour, playing at a number of festivals. They performed all their big hits in slightly extended/altered forms sending the crowds wild. Verena was accompanied on stage by Oliver and the two DUNE dancers Anna Alcos and Katja von dem Berge. At one of these performances in Rastatt a recording was made and this later appeared on the cd “Live!”, which was released in the autumn of 1996.
What made this recording more special was the fact that it took place on the day of Verena’s 21st birthday!!! The cd really captures the atmosphere and excitement of the crowd and shows that dance/techno music has a place on the live music scene!!
However, the whole situation around Dune was to change soon after the release of the “Live!” CD. Sadly, it became apparent that Verena was no longer happy in Dune and needed to have some time to herself, during which she wished to pursue a solo career. As Oliver later commented: “Verena was still doing her Abitur when she joined Dune, came directly from school and suddenly had thousands of fans. That got to her and she needed a break…”. As a farewell present for the fans, Verena provided her vocals to the track “Who Wants To Live Forever”, a haunting cover of the Queen classic. Originally the song was to be part of the music project “Queen Dance Traxx” for which a number of German music stars such as “Mr President” and “Blümchen” recorded dance versions of old Queen songs. Dune were the only group not to do produce a dance track.
Rather they submitted a slow, ballad version of the song. Of course dance remixes were made of the track but the version that is to be found in the video and which went to radio was the orchestral version. To this date “Who Wants To Live Forever” is Dune’s biggest hit, reaching no. 2 on the German charts and charting in the top 10 of a number of other European countries.
The success of “Who Wants To Live Forever” encouraged Oliver and Jens to record an album of their favourite ballads with the London Session Orchestra. The album, “Forever”, was recorded at the fabled Abbey Road Studios in London, England and consisted of original instrumental pieces along with excellent covers of songs such as Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, Phil Collins’ hit “Against All Odds”, Frankie goes to hollywood’s “The Power Of Love” and Depeche Mode’s “Somebody”. So, 1996 ended with Dune having experienced their most successful year to date, four top 20 singles (two of which reached the top 10), 2 top 20 albums and a hugely successful live tour. With the “Forever” album set for release in the new year, it appeared Dune could only get better.
January of 1997 finally saw the release of “Forever”. In it’s first week alone the album charted at number 2 on the official German album charts. This was Dune’s highest placing album to date and matched that of “Who wants to live forever”. Soon after a re-issued cd of “Queen dance traxx” saw the Dune track being included as a special bonus track in its ‘South bound mix’ form. On account of the huge success of “Forever”, a limited edition digipak cd was released consisting of two cds – one containing the instrumental piano tracks from the original cd and another containing instrumental versions of the cover versions. This cd was limited to 2000 copies!!!
Based on the success of “Who wants to live forever” and the “Forever” album itself, it was decided to release “Nothing compares 2 U” as the next single. However, the single did not match the huge success of its predecessor and did not even enter the German top 50!!! This was not unexpected. Without Verena, no promo was possible for the single and when the single did appear it contained no new tracks at all, simply the album version of “Nothing c ompares 2 U”, another track from “Forever” and the “Expedicion” track “So beautiful”. Some remixes were done for the single but these only appeared on the 12″ vinyl. At this time Verena was still contracted to the group but did not appear in the video as she still wanted to leave Dune. After a court between Dune and her she had no choice but to wait til the end of 1997 before releasing any solo material. Because of the lawsuit towards Verena the plan to bring out a solo single together with Jens Oettrich and Bernd Burhoff fell trough.
Following the poor chart placing of “Nothing compares 2 U”, the release of a third single from “Forever” (“Somebody”) was cancelled. However, a video for this song does exist as do some promo cds that were sent to radio. It was decided that the group would take a break for a while so as to give them a chance to find a replacement singer for Verena.
Finally at the end of 1997, Verena’s first solo single was released. The song, entitled “Finally alone”, was a mid-tempo ballad. The song wasn’t very successful but work continued on further solo material which was planned for release in 1998.
After a short creative break during which numerous people were casted and tested for the position of vocalist for Dune, the group returned with a new female singer, Vanessa Hörster. Vanessa had previously been working in sales in a clothing-store as well as singing songs in a cover band such as those by Mariah Carey, Alanis Morissette and Melissa Etheridge.
The first single from their upcoming album with Vanessa was “Keep the secret” which was more in a trance style than any of Dune’s previous material. The song and video take us on a journey through time, telling us about the myths and legends of the Egyptian Pharaohs, the Pyramids of the Nile and the Sphinx. The song charted at number 36 but did not reach the upper regions of the charts like previous releases did.
Nevertheless work began on the fifth Dune album which was to be called “5” with a planned release date sometime in the late summer. However, before the album was brought out Dune decided to release a second single called “Electric heaven”. The track combined the dance beats of the nineties with the electronic musical style of the eighties, resulting in a fresh, new song suitable for the summer. Unfortunately the single was a flop and Dune decided to stop working on the “5” album!. Soon after Vanessa left the group to pursue other career areas because Dune had a new idea but Vanessa didn’t fit in it! And Dune was searching again for a new singer for making a new “Forever” album.
In the meantime, Verena was planning her second-solo single to be called “Heartbeat”. The song was ready for release with a video having been filmed and CDs produced for distribution to the shops when her record company changed their minds, deciding instead to release the title track from the Disney film “The Little Mermaid” for which Verena provided the voice of the mermaid Ariel. The song “Part of your World” was released instead but was a flop as many people expected it would be!
In October of 1998 Dune returned once again, this time with Tina Lacebal as vocalist. Tina was a friend of Oliver’s girlfriend. Dune decided to return to the style of music that had given them their greatest success -classical music (that was the new idea what Dune had). They recorded a version of the ABBA song “One Of Us” with the London Session Orchestra again and a video was filmed in Iceland. The song achieved an average chart position but was by no means a huge success. This single was followed by another Forever album entitled “Forever And Ever” and finally a official homepage for Dune was born. Like the first Forever album, “Forever And Ever” contained cover versions of the producer’s favorite ballads as well as some instrumental pieces except this time all the vocals were done by Tina. The album failed to match the success of the first classical album and again all went silent around Dune.
After the release of the album “Forever And Ever” fans expected at least one more single from the album but this was not to materialize. It suposed to be “Forever young” but for unkown reasons this single was cancelled. Verena’s solo career had not been going as successful as was initially hoped and plans to release a fourth single, “Sky (follow me)” were scrapped. Her record deal with Mega-Records was ended and fans were left wondering what would now happen with silence coming from both Dune and Verena…
At the end of July the reason for the long silence from Verena and Dune was explained. It was announced that Verena and Dune where back working together, an announcement that was met with great joy by all Dune fans around the world. A new single and album, called “Reunion” (because
of the reunioned Dune & Verena) were in the pipeline and the Dune website became regularly active again with many picture updates in the diary.
It was announced that Dune’s comeback single was to be called “Dark side of the moon” and would be in the style that the fans loved (Happy-hardcore). The single got a lot of promotion and became a small hit in the charts. It was followed by a remix single, the first since the mega hit “Who wants to live forever”. The remix single included remixes from such great producers as Mark’Oh and Revil O. The release of the new album as postponed till the spring of 2000 meaning Dune fans had a little while longer to wait for new material.
A second single was planned for release prior to the release of the 6th album “Reunion” and was called “Heaven”. The song resembled “Can’t Stop Raving” slightly but was a great song nonetheless. The release date, initially planned for the end of March was postponed until mid-April for unknown reasons but Dune fans didn’t mind waiting. The video was already being played on music stations on TV and the fans eagerly awaited the chance to own the single.
However it was suddenly announced on the Dune website that the release of “Heaven” would not go ahead as planned due to legal reasons. It emerged that the song bared a great resemblance to a song of another group A7 called “Piece Of Heaven” (combination of the groups Avancada & Central Seven) and it was ruled by the courts that Dune’s version could not be released. It is likely that Dune tried to come to an arrangement with A7 so that “Heaven” could be released but unfortunately thiswas not successful. And fans must do it with only the promo release of “Heaven”, this single is now much wanted! After that they wanted to release “Back to the future” but their record-company Virgin Records didn’t see a hit in it and the release of “Back to the future” and the album “Reunion” where cancelled.
It was then announced that Dune had decided to take a break again, thus postponing the release of the album “Reunion”. They ensured however that they would return at some point.
Later in the year a new single was released under the title of “Dune vs. Trubblemaker – Hardcore vibes”. It was a remix of the massive Dune hit “Hardcore Vibes” done in freestyle. But this time it wasn’t a succes! Oliver even appeared in the video for the song and two new mixes of the song were made – “Chopstick Club Mix” & “DNS Club Mix”.
However fans were getting restless. They did not want remixes of old singles, they preferred to have brand new material from Dune. Eventually it was announced that a Greatest Hits CD would appear
at the end of the autumn. This CD would include all the hits, 3 brand new tracks as well as a computer game entitled “Keep the secret”. The new tracks “Back to the future”, “Here I am” and “Space invaders” were intended to appear on the “Reunion” album. But that wasn’t released because end of the year Verena and Oliver where busy with their own things and they didn’t recorded enough songs for a brand new album! And they always wanted to do a Greatest Hits CD. So this was the right time for it! But Verena and Oliver didn’t any promotion for it and the album charted not higher than nr. 63 in the Charts.
This was the last that was to be heard from Dune where many fans thinking! But they promised that they would coming back in the future!
Meanwhile Oliver began working under his old DJ name of DJ Raw.
Starting the new year there where rumours that a new single should come spring! But nothing was coming! In April we finally got a new picture of Verena & Oliver together in the studio; the picture was taken on the 25th of April. Oliver was going to New York for his dj work and he promised after his return there will be big news! But Oliver was back and we dindn’t hear anything from him! Than Oliver said that he, Jens and Bernd (producers) will meet in June to discuss the situation about the future of Dune. But again we hear nothing about that! A month later Oliver has updated his own DJ Raw site and fans where shocked to read: “Verena my ex-dune-made”. Later Oliver promised again to all the fans that Dune will be back, only not anymore this year. He doesn’t speak about if Verena has left Dune! Rumours said that Verena is back to University!
End this year there where rumours that Dune vs. dj Taylor & Flow will release the song “Hardcore Vibes (2001)”; the song was released but Dune has nothing to do with it! It is a remake of Dune’s “Hardcore vibes”. Also Adrima has covered a song of Dune end this year: “Can’t stop raving”! But they remixed it to a trance song. Soon Dune would be BACK with Verena or without Verena! Unfortunately this was a year of silence…
In 2002 all dunefans are waiting for a comeback. After months of waiting Oliver told us that Dune will also not comeback this year but he promised Dune will make his comeback next year!
Meanwhile in the summer of 2002 Verena has released a dance song: “Rain & tears” (a cover) on promo single for the radio but unfortunately Edel records (her label) doesn’t want to release it in the shops because they are afraid that “Rain & tears” would be a flop.
The next months fans has to do it with covers of the famous Dune songs…
Begin the new year we finally heard something from Dune on their official-hompeage. They told us that they where working on a new single and that they going back to their roots! They also confirmed that Verena has left the group again. There has been some problems again between Dune and her and Dune decided to go on without her!
Than 23th of June it was so far, the new single called “Rainbow to the stars 2003” was released. It was remixed to a whole new song (“Rainbow to the stars 2003” is a cover of their own hit “Rainbow to the stars” from 1996). They kept the original vocals from Verena Von Strenge so this probably would be the last time we heared Verena in a single.
After the project Dune was on hiatus for a few years Dune has choosed to release first a remake of their own releases. The chosen “Rainbow to the stars” because it’s their favourite song and the song would remebering the people who Dune are. This time Oliver is again the fronman of Dune but without a singer.
Also a whole new official homepage was born with a mailinglist for the fans.
Dune was working on a new album that was supposed to be released end of this year with differend studio-singers. But At the end of 2003 there was still no word on the new album or single! Meanwhile Oliver (as Dj Dune) was touring with two dansers in Europe.
Spring 2004 Oliver and Jens official told to the fans that they had made a few demo tracks for the new cd but again the work for a cd was cancelled… Oliver decided to tour with Dune, with the music that Dune made famous and trying to make a new cd under his own name DJ RAW.
Although fans expected there must be something going to happen around the Dune project, 2004 marked Dune’s 10th anniversary, nothing happend!
In 2005 Oliver told the fans on his website that a DJ RAW album should arrived any time this year but noting happend. Some other bands where still covering the “classic” dune songs but none of them entered very high on the charts.
In 2006 we see a net release from DJ RAW, the track “Utopia”. Dune fans where very pleased by the song, it remembers strong to the Dune area. After many fanmail to Oliver and Jens they explained Dune is not dead but don’t expect a release any time soon…
There where also plans (very rugh) to start a new project with the Dune team & Tina lagao, the studio-singer of “Are you ready to fly”. Till this day noting happended with this idea.
Finally some good news was coming end of 2006: Verena is back!
This time with a modern cover of Robby Willam’s hit “Angels”. The song was released in march 2007 under the name Moondust. The single also contains a b-track “Moondust” with Verena’s voice. Unfornately the single did not charted higher than 86 and the quistion is if we got an another single from Moondust.
In 2009 there where rumors that “Hardcore Vibes” will be re-recorded for a release in autumn. Both Dune and Mental Theo (Dutch DJ) confirmed they are working on a new version. They even re-recording the famous line “to all the ravers in the nation” agian with Janine Kelly, she was only eleven when they recording “Hardcore Vibes” for the first time. In 2010 there was a statement that “HCV2010” would be released under the name “Bassheadz vs. Dune” and was set for a June release. Unfortunately both Oliver and Mental Theo have confirmed that HVC2010″ is cancelled (for now) because of “the lack of interest” from the label. Short after the statement there where put 2 remixes online: “Dune vs Mental Theo – Hardcore Vibes 2010″ (Arthur Project & Mike Tsoff Remix and Arthur Project & Mike Tsoff Radio Remix)” but it is never confirmed if those remixes where the real deal.
In 2016 we finally see the release of a new Dune single named “Magic Carpet Ride” after much teasing that started already in 2014. Dune consist now only of Oliver and is working with studio singers. Jens and Bernd are no longer in the picture. Oliver set up his own recordlabel called “Raw productions” and his wife, Michaela Weinberg is now his manager. Raw productions saw his first release on the 2nd of September with “Magic Carpet Ride”. A typical Dune sound but also fit in the ‘sound of today’. Dune hired Kate Wild, studio singer from Brighton, UK for the vocals.
Time has not stood still and the psychical cd market has (unfortunately) collapsed and the digital market has taken over. But special for the fans Dune released “Magic Carpet Ride” on cd and vinyl in limited edition at the end of October. And there’s more.. Dune gives everyone the oppurtuntiy to remix the new comeback single. Dune wil choose the best 5 mixes and will get a worldwide release through Raw productions. On November 5 “Magic Carpet Ride – The Remix EP” was released digital worldwide. A few days later, on november 11 Dune surprised everybody with a new digital release, the Digital Rockers Remix of “Magic Carpet Ride”.
Because of the new era Dune also has a new logo and a new website released. Dune is working now with producers all over the world and are hoping to release more singles and eventually a new album!