Bio – Whatever Happens, Don’t Be Yourself
Whatever Happens, Don’t Be Yourself started as a project initiated by Nils Are Drønen. The drummer, bandleader and composer was educated at the Academy of Music in Bergen, Norway. Today Whatever Happens, Don’t BeYourself is a 9 piece free jazz band that explores and improvises music based on the songs and sketches of the band leader.
The self-titled debut album was released on Christmas Eve 2016 to maximum non-commercial effect. The follow up album Simple Thought for a Troubled Mind got nice reviews, and brought the band to festivals like Natt Jazz (Bergen) and the AMR festival in Geneva, Switzerland. Their latest album Ignorance and Bad Decisions was released in January 2023.
Whatever Happens, Don’t BeYourself turned into a band when several new musicians joined to explore the ideas of Nils Are Drønen. Quite simply, the mood was good, and everyone wanted to do more of this. The Barcelona based trumpeter Audun Waage is still a part of the band, the only musician playing on all albums. Mads Berven and Snorre Bjerck are the new veterans of the band. The line up was completed with the new breed of jazz musicians of Bergen: Aksel Røed, Isach Skeidsvoll and Nils Henrik Sagvåg. Nelly Moar is the singer of the band.
The legendary master of noise, Lasse Marhaug, is featured on all albums, and may be a part of the concert line up on request.
- Whatever Happens, Don’t Be Yourself, 2016
- Simple Thoughts For A Troubled Mind, 2021
- Ignorance and Bad Decisions, 2023
«Simple Thoughts For A Troubled Mind» is a refreshing multifaceted album that explores many of the possibilities of jazz. I can imagine that Whatever is a band worth experiencing live. – Geir Rakvaag, Dagsavisen
«Song can’t get smoother than this, from a beautiful vocal to a blissful trumpet solo, that will take the listener into another universe of pure bliss. Arrangement is perfectly balancing the instrumental parts with vocal ones.» Review by Nagamag.com
Nils Are Drønen is educated at the Music Academy in Bergen. He has recorded and toured with artists like Kjetil Møster, Jørgen Sandvik, Jon Irabagon & John Hegre (Rune Gramofon) and more. Mads Berven won the Vossasjazz price in 2008. The Barcelona based Audun Waage is recognized for his spirited trumpet playing by allaboutjazz.com. Nils Henrik Sagvåg is like Aksel Røed and Isach Skeidvoll educated at the Grieg Academy in Bergen. Røed and Skeidvoll is also known from the up and coming band The General Post Office. Snorre Bjerck is known from sessions with Nils Petter Molvær, Arve Henriksen and more. He was awarded the Vossajazz prize in 2007.