Exclusive: With Chester Lockhart
During KCON LA 2018, The Kraze had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with recording artist and producer Chester Lockhart. Chester’s overall aesthetic in both music and style is dark, mysterious, and alluring, but he has a killer smile with a bubbly personality to match. We had the opportunity to talk about his music, career, and his thoughts on K-Pop in an exclusive interview.
Q: Can you please tell our readers a little about yourself?
Chester: I am an artist, producer, and director on the internet. I just released a bunch of new music recently. I am half-Korean, in case you were wondering why I am here, and I’m a huge K-Pop fan. I was born and raised in Southern California. My mother is from South Korea, so it has been such a huge inspiration in my life. I’m really happy to be here at KCON for the very first time. It is so amazing and epic.
Q: Who and what is your inspiration for creating music?
C: For music, I draw a lot from K-Pop culture. I love choreography; I love things that are really choreographed and high-end art concepts. I think that’s why I love K-Pop music videos so much. The groups have such tight-knit dance moves and I really draw from that as my inspiration. I [also] draw from a lot of ‘80s horror movies. I think I have a really unique brand of gay, Korean, ghost music that I do.
Q: What are some challenges you face as an artist? How do you overcome them?
C: It’s hard. [Especially] being an independent artist in 2018, it’s really difficult because it’s 100% you. I don’t have a record label. I don’t have people that support me. It’s literally my money. I produce, direct, create, write, etc.—everything. With that comes a lot of challenge but also so much reward. Everything that I create is 100% my vision. Even though it’s the biggest obstacle, it’s also the greatest accomplishment for me.
Q: What is the most memorable experience you had while standing on stage?
C: So I tour a lot with my friend Todrick Hall, who is also a big K-Pop fan. He loves Red Velvet. We were in Tokyo this past year on tour and it was so crazy to see so many foreign fans. [It’s] every time we go overseas and do shows. This was one of the first times where I was touring, doing my original music. To see so many fans from a country where they do not speak English, knowing the lyrics to my songs and being East Asian, it really resonated with me. That was a huge win for me.
Q: If you could collaborate with any K-Pop artist or group, who would it be and why?
C: Well, my ultimate favorite baddie is CL. I would die for her. She embodies everything that I love about Korean culture and being an amazing artist. She’s so talented and beautiful. I met her in 2015 and I cried on the spot. Obviously G-DRAGON is unbelievable. I love ZICO, DEAN, MINO (WINNER), and EXO. I love Red Velvet and Hyorin too. Okay, I’ve listed too many!
Q: If you could collaborate on any type of song, what would it be?
C: I would love to be on a K-Pop song, like singing in Korean. But if I was to have another artist with me, I would love to do a house/hip-hop kind of song that is complementary to both our styles.
Q: What are your thoughts on KCON and how huge of a phenomenon K-Pop, K-Beauty, and Korean culture have become?
C: It’s so crazy! We’re sitting up here in this green room right now overlooking the convention and it’s literally packed to the brim. It makes me super happy and proud to see so many people from all different backgrounds. Not just Asians, but people from all different ethnicities and cultures coming together appreciating K-Pop. It’s got such a worldwide impact and it’s happened so recently that it makes me really proud and happy to be someone who is of Korean descent. It’s also such a cool convention because you get to see friends who you hardly get to see, see all the brands up close and meet people. It’s such a cool opportunity.
Q: Do you keep up with any K-Pop groups? If so, who are they?
Q: Are you planning on attending any tours?
C: I’m trying! The hard thing is that I’m traveling myself as an artist, so I never get to see other artists. Unless it just happens to work out.
Q: What is some advice you give to those who are trying to pursue a career in music?
C: Never let anyone tell you “no.” It’s 2018. Every resource is available to you online. I learned how to produce and record music just by watching YouTube tutorials. So there is no excuse to be like: “Well, I don’t have the resources. I don’t know how to do something.” If you have a cell phone or access to a computer, you can learn how to do everything yourself. Do not let anyone else stand in the way of your success.
Q: If you could collaborate with any content creator (doesn’t necessarily have to be K-Pop related) who would it be and what kind of video would you like to create?
C: My friend Edward Avila. I love him. I think his videos are so interesting and insightful. He’s a beauty guru but also he’s such a great commentator on Korean culture and how it relates to the Western world. I would love to do a video talking about social norms, LGBT+ culture, and music influences in K-Pop.
Q: You participated in KCON’s LGBT+ panel. Were you nervous? What were you expecting?
C: I think it’s so interesting because I think the reasons why these panels are important is [that] in reality Korea culture is very conservative. Sexuality is not a big thing in Korea, so it’s really important. This year is the first drag parade in Korea, and now because of that LGBT+ is starting to become a big thing. Before, no one talked about it. I was so thrilled to see so many people attending and genuinely interested, and seeing people with experiences talking on forums about the attitudes towards LGBT+. I think having representation here and being amongst fans is important. I said it during the panel: I think drag culture, LGBT+ culture, and fans go together so well because we are such a stan culture. When you are a fan of someone, you ride hard for them. You know everything about them. I think those cultures coming together and feeding off of each other and bringing positive energy is such a beautiful thing.
Q: Are there any plans for the future that you can tell fans and readers about?
C: I’m releasing new music really, really soon and I’m going to have something really cool in 2019. Hopefully I will be in Korea and Japan in 2019 at some point. I can’t say for sure, but I am making plans!
On behalf of The Kraze, we thank Chester Lockhart for taking the time to have this interview with us! Make sure to keep up with his latest music and stay connected by following him on social media!
Official Website: https://www.chesterlockhart.com/