If you watched Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” music video — and who didn’t — you know who Chester Lockhart is. The self-proclaimed “gender fluid half-Korean vampire king” can be seen swooning in Swift’s queer trailer park, their usually ice-blonde hair tinted pink. But Lockhart is more than just a member of Swift’s LGBTQ+ posse; they’re an actor, influencer, and a regular in L.A.’s queer party scene, as well as a “lady of the night from the pits of hell (the inland empire in California).”
And, Lockhart adds, “I’m single!!!!!”
But most importantly, Lockhart is a musician. Their latest track, a broody electro-pop banger, “The Night,” sounds like Evanescence does Berghain — a compliment of the highest order. Out slid into the hellraiser’s DMs to chat about the single’s spellbinding video, their other upcoming projects, and whether Taylor Swift is streaming “The Night.”
I have a feeling you've spent a lot of time at Hot Topic. True or false?
When I was 12 years-old (very recently) the HIGHEST pinnacle of employment in my eyes was the manager at my local HT. I would dream about the day I would finally be old enough to hand in my application so I could fold Marilyn Manson shirts menacingly for 8 hours a day. My mom HATED Hot Topic with every inch of her Korean soul and if I saved up enough money to actually purchase a 3-tier pyramid stud belt, I would quickly find that it had disappeared from my room forever.
How would you describe your aesthetic? Your sound?
My upcoming material is basically that whole opening scene from Blade where they’re in this dimly lit late ‘90s rave and blood starts pouring from the ceiling.
“The Night” is about reclaiming things that have made you an other — your queerness and fondness for the macabre. Why was that an important message for you to musicalize?
Growing up in an ultra conservative and religious environment, I was ostracized by the church I was raised in and bullied verbally and physically in school. Not only for my obvious gayness (which I tried to conceal) but also because I was obsessed with old Hollywood movies, theatre, anime, East Asian music, etc. I felt like I had no home because of the things I loved and the person I was, who just wanted to be loved. Even as an adult, I don’t feel that I have necessarily every fit in with the majority of the LGBTQ+ community. I used to constantly seek validation from the world, which left me feeling empty because the world will never give that to you — it comes from within.
This past year and a half I’ve finally started to realize how precious and fragile life is, and how much the way we treat ourselves affects our own happiness. I wanted to start writing songs that made me feel powerful and proud of being exactly the ghoul that I am, imperfections and huge lips and limp wrists and all!!!!!!
You’ve been described as a “gender fluid half-Korean vampire king” and “gay ghost.” Are you excited that we’re about to enter peak spooky season?
Well, summer is actually my most crucial season because my dark powers are charging during that time so I can reach my full potential during October. I can’t wait to watch scary movies, wear more cloaks and cuddle at night with my…. Oh wait I’m alone.
Tell me about the upcoming episode of Hulu’s Into the Dark you’ll star in.
Well, I can’t reveal any plot details but I can say that it was an absolute dream to work with horror royalty Blumhouse, and I will have some iconic moments that will go down in scary movie history.
You co-starred in Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” music video, what was that experience like?
Taylor is lovely beyond belief. The whole shoot was so fast and so efficient because there were like 9,827,394 other cameos, and my bestie Todrick executive produced, so it felt like we were just casually hanging out at a trailer park rather than working. I fainted on a mattress about 5 times and then I drove home with a new pair of shoes!
Favorite song on Lover? Favorite Taylor Swift song period?
Lover: “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince.” All Time? “You Belong With Me.”
Your music video has a...very different vibe than “You Need to Calm Down." Do you think Taylor would stream “The Night’?
“The Night” was originally a bonus track on Taylor’s album but was cut for time. 100% confirmed true. Taylor is the songwriter of the century and has impeccable taste so I know she BOUGHT “The Night.”