IA: Inevitably, the first question anyone who is unfamiliar with the lettuce movement is going to ask, What the F*ck is "Hot Salad" supposed to mean, where did it come from? So, what does it mean?
Paul: Well, the name "Hot Salad" started when sophomore year, I was in the dorms with my pals Vinny, Adam, Alec, and Greg, and I was heating up leftover takeout (which was chicken parm, pasta, and a salad.) I didn't take out the salad while I was heating it up 'cause I wasn't eating it anyway and didn't feel like taking out. After it got nice and hot I took a piece of the hot lettuce and naturally slapped Adam across the face with it. He then tweeted out something like, "ahh Paul just hit me with a hot salad." Vinny and Adam then thought that would be a funny name for a hip hop collective, and here we are.
IA: I know that blogging/podcasting is something you have been doing for quite some time now, can you explain a little bit about the when, how, and why you started?
Paul: Well I'm wanted to start podcasting because when I was commuting to the city I got bored of listening to music every single day, so I switched to podcasts. I worked a job that sucked ass but I could have my headphones in, so pretty much from the moment I left my house to the moment I got home I was listening to the Joe Rogan Experience or Serial. 10 hours a day, every day. After a while I felt like I wanted to try doing my own and keep people entertained while they were driving or working or doing whatever.
IA: Was there a time that you kind of said to yourself, "this thing is starting to become pretty real?" When did you decide to take this thing from just for leisure to an entertainment business? Was there a moment of realization or was it more of a planned decision?
Paul: It was a planned decision. I had done two podcasts and was applying for jobs at podcast networks. But then , my mom suggested I should just start my own. Mommas always right. So I'm glad its real in the sense that, theres now finally a physical and tangible website, but theres still a lot more stuff I have to do in terms of growing the site in order to get it to the place I want it to be. I've just finally got everything relatively organized and have more of a plan of what I think the site/podcast can be.
IA: Over the years your individual brand and the Hot Salad brand kind of "Organically Grew", (for lack of a less hipster way to put it). When was it that you decided to take the brand beyond personal blogging/podcasting to what I have taken to calling the "Conglomerate of Deuschebaggery" that is Hot Salad?
Paul: Haha I can't say I 100% know what you mean, but Salad is just a movement. I think if anything it started as a Conglomerate of Douchebaggery as you put it, and THEN became a blogging podcast network. Either you're a lettuce head or you're not, and once you find out it truly is a beautiful and enlightening experience.
IA: Going back to when you were starting out, was there a vision to eventually turn your writing and expression into a full brand with an operating website and a bit of a following?
Paul: When I first started podcasting I didn't have a plan to make it a network/website, I was just doing it just to do it. It wasn't until relatively recently when, after looking at a bunch of different podcasts network that I decided it'd be in the best interest of everyone involved to stick together and put stuff out from one source.
IA: As this grew was there a movement of your friends coming to you saying "I can do this too" and wanting to be involved? Or, was it more of you recruiting a rag tag clan to take over an otherwise stale BarStool ruled blogging/podcasting world?
Paul: I'd say it was a mix. They had it in their heads for the most part that they wanted to eventually do a blog or a podcast, I think I just gave them the extra push and the platform/resources to do it.
IA: The topics of conversation among Hot Salad World productions are always rich with debate, you know like do you run the water on your tooth brush before or after the tooth paste, my question here is how are the topics decided upon? Do you personally have a running list of things you want someone to talk about?
Paul: In terms of the podcasts, everyone is pretty much deciding their own topics for their show. Eric and I come up with the topics for Take It 2 Go, Alec for Maybe Next Year etc. We'll all help each other come up with an idea here or there.
IA: Do you have a lot, a little, or no say in the topics of blogs or podcasts by other Hot Salad World writers?
Paul: I guess I have a say in the sense that if I don't want to post something I won't. But anyone can really write about whatever they want. If i think an idea is stupid then I'll say it, as well as everyone else would if I had a stupid idea. Everyone bounces ideas off each other. We have a google doc and group chat where people will say what they're about to write about or talk about, and it just goes from there.
IA: What is the deal with the car thing? I noticed there are a few shows taking place in the host's car, is this a sound thing, a space thing, a mood setting thing?
Paul: Haha it really just has to do with the fact that we don't have a solid spot to record every time. So basically the cars just like a moving studio. In an ideal world we would not be recording in a car so frequently.
IA: I noticed there is a wide variety of personalities within Hot Salad World, was that something you set out to achieve? Or is it more of something that just kind of came to be given the people you know and were able to get involved?
Paul: It was something that came to be based on who was involved. I didn't set out necessarily that I wanted all different kinds of people, but once that was the direction I saw it started to go I liked the idea of it.
IA: Going off of the previous question, do you think there is one personality trait, or quality, that is a constant across the board with all that are involved in Hot Salad World? Do you guys have one thing that kind of is in common about the way you conduct yourselves, your shows, and your blogs?
Paul: I think honesty. Thats what I've learned from podcasting/blogging is that people want you to be honest with yourself and with them. No one wants to hear your fairy tale version of yourself. I think everyone who writes/podcast is pretty self-aware of their faults and strengths and are honest about them.
IA: Now to get real deep into things with you here real quick. What does Hot Salad World mean to you? What is the vision for Hot Salad World? What does Hot Salad World stand for? And, what do you hope people take away from consuming the magic that is the Hot Salad World Conglomerate of entertainment?
Paul: Hot Salad World is a place where you can find something to entertain you no matter what you're interests are. Thats my vision for it. To eventually be a place where millions of different kinds of people can find something to laugh about or be entertained with in one place. Hot Salad World stands for not taking yourself to seriously and just havin' fun.
IA: Are you personally involved in the production of all of the Hot Salad World podcasts, or only your own?
Paul: Pretty much involved in some aspect of production for all of them except Brother Banter. The Hammer brothers handle that one.
IA: Before we go, are their any must read/listen blogs or podcasts out there for our readers, both within and outside of Hot Salad World?
Paul: Every podcast on HSW is a must listen.~ It really depends what you're into, but I can almost GUARANTEE that if anyone goes to the website they'll be able to find a topic that they'll really be into. Outside of Hot Salad World, I'd recommend The Joe Rogan Experience, Your Mom's House, Skeptic Tank, and The Church of Whats Happening Now.