[INTERVIEW] neutral. Discusses His Electronic Roots, Unreleased Louis The Child Remix, + More

| April 07, 2022

As he aims to provide a sense of healing for his listeners, Zach Salmi, who goes by the stage name neutral., has created a sound that is nostalgic, refreshing, and inspiring. By incorporating emotional soundscapes and moving melodies into his productions, the Illinois future bass producer has figured out a way to tell a story through sound that resonates deeply with the human experience. Whether he is working on official remixes for artists like The Chainsmokers or releasing original tracks like “How It Goes,” neutral. creates records that you don't just listen to but feel. After dropping an impressive mix exclusively for iEDM Radio, we caught up with neutral. to discuss his electronic roots, connection to the Chicago music scene, and so much more.


Read iEDM’s exclusive interview with neutral. below.



iEDM: How did you get into producing, and when did you decide that it was something you wanted to pursue professionally?

neutral.: I have been an avid listener of electronic music since I was in early high school. What took me from a casual listener to wanting to learn about production was hearing the track "Beautiful Now" by Zedd. For something that was a sort of awakening for me and I decided I wanted to begin exploring the process of making music. The next day I downloaded FL Studio, and the rest is history, as they say.


iEDM: Who would you say are the biggest inspirations for your sound? 

neutral.: I feel like my sound is a culmination of artists that have inspired me throughout my seven years of production, and they all have their slice of what encapsulates my sound. Early on, it was people like The Chainsmokers, Lost Kings, and Zedd. More recently, I've been loving people like Kasbo, On Planets, and OTR. It's truly a smorgasbord of sounds that have helped me get to where I am today.


iEDM: Everyone has at least one particular song that got them into electronic music. What would you say was yours?

neutral.: "Beautiful Now" by Zedd and Jon Bellion was the track that got me into producing, but when it comes to just a casual listener, Skrillex's entire Bangarang EP had me by the throat in early high school. I still bump those tracks to this day.




iEDM: You had a lot of momentum before the pandemic hit, which was tough for everyone, especially for those within the music industry. How did you stay positive during the lockdowns, and how does it feel to be back in full swing playing shows and releasing music?

neutral.: Like you said, the lockdowns were terrible for everyone but were particularly unforgiving for the music industry. I was lucky to have a day job, so I did not suffer too much in that sense. I struggled with some health issues, which took me away from the project for some time, but I am very happy to be back. I am hoping that COVID is in the rear-view mirror because I am dying to keep putting out music and meeting fans on the road.


iEDM: You've played shows all over the US, from LA and DC to Chicago, Denver, and more. Which city would you say is your favorite to play in? 

neutral.: Chicago is always home for me. I am from Washington, IL, which is about two hours south of the city. Chicago is close enough for me to do regular sets there when I have music friends coming to play. It's always a special night because I usually have friends and family there supporting me, which is always amazing. Every city I have played in has been very receptive, and I can't wait to play more in the future.





iEDM: I love the emotion you put into your tracks. You really have a knack for taking listeners on a journey with your productions. How important is it to provide your fans with an emotional experience rather than just something to party to? 

neutral.: I always want my music to tell a story and make the listener feel something. Mostly because those are the tracks that I always found myself resonating with. I always try to make sure that the instrumentals are emotive. I have been very lucky with my vocal collaborators like Luma and Pauline Herr because they are incredible songwriters and have been able to put those emotions into lyrics that fit perfectly. My favorite thing is when people reach out on social media and express how much our records have helped them through a rough time in their lives. It's truly the most rewarding thing about what we do.


iEDM: You've worked with some big names, releasing official remixes for The Chainsmokers, Lost Kings, and ARMNHMR. How did it feel to collaborate with such high-profile artists? 

neutral.: It is an indescribable feeling. All of the people I have done official remixes for have been huge influences on my career. To be huge fans of them and to have them reciprocate is an honor. The Chainsmokers went from being my heroes to good friends of mine. They all have their ear to the ground on up-and-coming artists, and I really respect them for it.


iEDM: You threw in some surprises in your exclusive mix for iEDM Radio. What can you tell us about the new tracks you premiered?

neutral.: Just for you guys ;). I am really excited about them. The track with Win and Woo is one that we have been sitting on for around a year or two. It is a great blend of our artistic styles. The other one is an unreleased remix for Louis the Child that should be coming soon. I hope everyone likes them as much as I do.





iEDM: Is there anything you do outside of music that inspires you or helps the creative process when you do get in the studio? 

neutral.: I am at my most creative when I am feeling healthy and happy. This means that trying to eat healthier and taking walks throughout the day really help aid my creativity. Luckily the summer is coming up it will be easier to take walks outside to sift through my mind and concentrate on music.


iEDM: If you could accomplish just one thing in your music career, what would it be and why? 

neutral.: In a way, I feel like I already accomplished the goals I set for myself when I started. It truly was insane to me to think I could change someone's life with my music, and I can confidently say that I have done that. It's an indescribable feeling that I am very proud of. Beyond that, I want to keep putting out music that I am proud of, play shows with my friends, and have a blast doing it. My career has been an awesome journey, and I am just along for the ride, enjoying myself and meeting great people along the way.



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