Meet The Guy that Stole Every Justin Bieber CD in Los Angeles

He's also banned from Barnes and Noble, hated by Jimmy Kimmel, and he stole Paris Hilton's birthday cake.

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23 April 2014, 12:17pm

Sonic Innovation #3 - How One Artist Hijacked his Way into the Mainstream

Paz Dylan wormed his way into my heart and a million Belieber’s venomous tweets with a simple act of musical terrorism: he replaced all the copies of Justin’s third album Believe in LA with his own CD. The act was not just to troll some hormonal teens and their pop demigod but to give an independent artist the spotlight in an increasingly marginalised American retail market that, much like UK supermarkets, sticks close to the top 20 for its well stocked but rather limited musical selection.

This is not Paz’s first shot at internet infamy. He also managed to replace numerous pictures from the Grammy museum with his own and one time he crashed Paris Hilton’s birthday party.

When not trolling the gods of the mainstream, Paz makes his own music, which falls somewhere between light EDM and a white Flo Rida. I talked to the musical prankster about the importance of independent music, becoming a pariah in the entertainment world and why he stole Paris Hilton’s birthday cake.

YNTHT: What made you want to do the Bieber prank?

Paz: Traditionally, it’s always been really difficult for independent artists to get their music into the main retail stores. These stores are all over the country and they stock all of the same recycled bullshit. I thought of ways to get our music heard and then me and my team decided to disguise it as Justin Bieber CDs because no matter what store you go to in the country, you’ll always find a Justin Bieber album.

Makes sense, Bieber is everywhere and he sells a lot of records.

We looked at this as more of a performance art piece and we were using the stores as our canvases. We put a lot of effort into designing the albums. A lot of people think that we bought the albums and then just stuck our own CD inside. We actually recreated the artwork ourselves and then printed them out, shrinkwrapped and barcoded them, the intent was to get them to stay on the shelves for as long as possible.

How did you differentiate them though?

You’re the first person I’ve told - we put a gold stripe on the spine of the CD, the normal stripe is white. We were putting them into stores for about a month, so needed a way to differentiate them; we wanted fans to be able to tell what was our record and what was a Bieber CD.

Have they become a collectible?

There was one on Ebay that sold for $200. I never expected that.

Did Bieber ever respond to you taking his album out of circulation?

No he didn’t. Most of his fans took it quite well; we’ll still get the occasional angry message from an angry Belieber, telling us to fuck off.

You’ve also managed to get banned from Jimmy Kimmel’s late night talk show. What happened there?

My manager told me that his people were semi-interested in interviewing me about the Bieber project. I was walking near the studio where it was filmed and decided that it wouldn’t hurt to go by, hand them a CD, maybe tell them a bit more about the idea. So I managed to waltz past security and get into Kimmel’s office and came face to face with him just as he was walking out of his bathroom. I told him my story and he seemed amused and very surprised. When I was walking out security were trying to catch up with me, but I got past them. My manager thought it was a great idea and he phoned them up to see how it went, they said that I’d was banned from the show and that they were now gonna change their whole security policy because of me.

That sucks. Have you been banned from anywhere else?

Yeah, from Barnes and Noble, the bookstore which also sells CDs. They didn’t think too highly of the Bieber project, so they have unofficially banned me for life from all of their stores. The goal of the project was to replace every Bieber CD in Los Angeles wherever it was sold. It started as one store and then it ended up being 2500 stores that we had to hit.

Is this your first time being Internet famous?

This may be the third time. A couple years back I crashed Paris Hilton’s birthday party and stole her cake that nobody was eating, we gave it to some people on Skid Row.

And what about your protest against the Grammys?

Yeah, last year I protested against the Grammys for not nominating any independent artists. We smuggled in pictures of me winning awards into the Grammy museum. They stayed up for about a month until we wrote a piece on our blog. There was one particular picture that had me and Rihanna duetting but instead of a microphone I was holding a taco. There was also a section we changed to the history of burritos in recorded music.

Why do you do these pranks?

Most of these things I do have a message behind them. But these pranks are also really fun and at the end of the day entertainment should be fun. There’s so much independent talent that never gets recognised and the world makes it so hard for someone without that big push.

Thanks Paz.

Follow Dan on Twitter: @KeenDang

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