Q & A with Tina Del Twist and Wes Snelling
Tina Del Twist has a voice as smooth as honey and a comedic wit that could shred brie. This gin-soaked velvet draped madame has featured on ABCTV's Comedy Up Late, performed acclaimed seasons with Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne & Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Darwin Festival, Perth FringeWORLD and accepted invitations to perform in Sydney, Copenhagen, Berlin, Edinburgh, and New York.
Wes Snelling is an award winning cabaret artiste, performance-maker, actor, singer, comedian, writer, director, producer, radio presenter, production/stage/tour manager and mentor. Hailing from Kyneton, his home-grown performances have seen him tour throughout Australia, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, South Korea, the UK and USA. Wes has featured on ABC TV (Interviews/Comedy UpLate), Network Ten and the Comedy Channel. Radio credits include co-hosting ABC 774’ s The Conversation Hour, and numerous appearances on RRR, Joy 94.9 and PBS.
Wes is the brains and bones behind his eccentric Aunt Tina's stardom/lifestyle. We managed to get them in the same room and sat them down for a little chat ahead of Tina performing with TLSQ in Silly Season at the Kew Court House Sat 2 December 2017.
When did you first meet and what were your first impressions of each other?
Tina: Well I met Wes at birth. His birth, not mine, he is my nephew so that would be odd, but not impossible I guess. Anyway, it was actually the day after his birth that I saw him for the first time. He was a chubby glowing thing. Or was that your brothers birth Wes? Oh who knows or cares, do you have any more wine? This glass ain’t gonna fill itself!
Wes: My first real memory of Aunt Tina was when I was 9 she took me behind our old garden shed and showed me how to roll a joint.
Tina: Well you have to learn sometime. No one wants to smoke a flacid doob. You know Wes your mother always said she was expecting a girl because she was experiencing wild mood swings, breakouts and oily skin, excessive morning sickness and was carrying quite high. But it turns she was just giving birth to a bohemian.
When did you know that you wanted to be a singer?
Tina: I don’t feel like I ever had a choice. I can’t do anything else. I tried being a bookkeeper for a second but it hurt.
Wes: When I was about 13 I told my family I was rehearsing for the Rock Eisteddfod, shut all the doors to the lounge-room and watched Bette Midler’s Divine Madness. Then I grabbed the carpet sweeper and re-enacted the entire concert in the reflection of the window. My fam didn’t seem to question why I was rehearsing singing for a dance competition.
What was your first instrument?
Tina: the one I was born with darling. Oh my glass is empty, Wes just bring the bottle over here poppet, save you getting up next time.
Wes: A very small casiotone MT-11 keyboard. I still don’t know how to play it. And I so wish I did. I never learnt how to play an instrument except my vocals. When I sing it is all by ear. Which is a blessing and a curse. It means I really truly listen to how I connect with a song, lyrics and instrumentation emotionally but also get frustrated that I can't communicate efficiently the mathematics or science of music. It all works out in the end but my current goal is to be patient with learning the language of music while not getting overwhelmed by it.
What is the strangest music gig/job that you’ve done?
Tina: Performing at a gay sauna in Seaford Victoria. I was singing some jazz while 3 men wandered in and out in towels cruising each other. Let’s just say they didn’t appreciate my tone.
Wes: I was one of the men.
What is the strangest non-music job you’ve ever done?
Tina: I don’t understand the question.
Wes: Working the night shift at a 24 hour McDonalds in Melbourne City when I was 18 for $7.70 an hour. I was shy, and not ‘out’ yet. It was about 3am one Sunday morning when I had finished mopping the top floor in very tight pants and a guy yelled out ‘hey fatso’, glared at me and poured a coke all over the floor. Wasn’t so much strange as enlightening. I walked straight downstairs and quit and never looked back.
If you were not a musician or performing artist, what would be your ideal occupation?
Tina: A winery.
Wes: I always wanted to be a psychologist. Same shit different bucket really.
What is the most annoying thing about Wes that makes you love him more?
Tina: He is always right.
What is the most annoying thing about Tina that makes you love her more?
Wes: She is always wrong.
Do you get nervous before performing, if so, how do you combat that?
Tina: Only very occasionally. Wes can you get me a shot of voddi darling?
Wes: Not heaps, but if it is new material, definitely. Then I remind myself nerves are about focus. Nerves just mean I care and am alive. Then I breathe slowly and stare at a wall. Or try to look busy so no one talks to me.
What music/podcast/book/tv show are you enjoying right now?
Tina: Oh I don’t do that.
Wes: Music… Baker Boy from Arnhem Land. Love his new track on Triple J Unearthed. Also a massive Dan Sultan fan. I have become obsessed with watching old interviews on YouTube with Sandra Bernhard. I also LOVE Get Krack!n on ABC. Because, you know, it’s bloody hilarious… and I’m in it.
What is next for Wes/Tina – together or apart.
Tina: I’m going to Bar Americano for a Negroni.
Wes: I’m going to see Aunt Tina perform on Sat Dec 2 in Silly Season at The Kew Court House with TLSQ! Can’t wait!
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