The Way Out is an audio and visual educational project created by Ron Cameron that is centered around animated psychedelia and mind-expanding sounds. In the summer of 2011, Ron was inspired by fellow DJ friends to make use of his enormous music collection. Since he used to DJ a bit in the late 1980s, they suggested live DJ-ing would be a good solution. So, Ron brainstormed ideas for the project. It soon became evident that this would also make a great idea for a weekly late night radio show.
With his music selections for The Way Out sound and light show, Ron shows the before-and-after lineage or family tree of dub techniques; exalting and championing the artists, producers and engineers who dared to go a bit more “far out” with their recording studio experimentation. Starting out in the ’50s with electronic sci-fi experiments, and proceeding into the ’60s with psychedelia, the scene then landed in Jamaica in the early ’70s, where the dub version of reggae was invented. The next stop was the ’80s, with its 12” single extended and remix versions, followed by the sampladelic ’90s, when this style of music also became known as trip-hop electronica, ending up in the 2000s, when everything came back full circle and all of those eras and genres got mixed together. Within two years of steady live DJ gigs, Ron was nominated as one of the Top 5 DJs by the Coachella Valley Music Awards in 2013.
Live at Bar in Palm Springs, California February 3, 2014. Photo: Dre Naylor
Widely recognized as one of the most prolific designers and artists in the skateboard world of the ’80s and ’90s, Ron is also known as one of three founding members of RVCA Clothing, where he created all of the logos, the slogans, the look and feel, and almost all of their graphic design. Although music and record cover art influenced most of that visual output, with The Way Out, the sounds and music are the focus. In his pre-teen years, Ron was lucky to be able to hang around at radio station KROY in Sacramento, California with disc jockey and programing director Robert John, which made him take notice of what DJs were doing.
Fast forward to the late ’80s, when Ron started designing skateboard graphics, t-shirt designs and ad layouts: he took that opportunity seriously by beefing up his already growing record collection with the most “far out” music he could find in the local record shops to help him “see” new graphic ideas. Since then, Ron has spent thousands of hours in almost every single record shop in the state of California, many across the United States, and even dozens around the world on various continents. Constant searching has led him to psychedelic, dub, and electronic oddball records (and CDs). Ron would then use these discs as a background soundtrack while working at his desk as an over-the-top creative jump start for his designs. For skateboard art fans out there who remember Blockhead Skateboards, this sound show can be looked at as a way to *hear* what those trippy “way out” graphics on the bottom of those decks *sound* like!
Ron digging through the record bins at Radiation Records in Rome, Italy. This was the same trip to Italy when Ron conceived and brainstormed the whole Way Out radio and DJ show idea. Photo: Radiation’s co-owner Marco
With Ron’s unique style and vision, it is hoped that The Way Out radio show will help the listener to shake off the rust and barnacles of daily grid lock life. It will also encourage listeners to take a fun and adventurous trip, floating off into the cosmic unknown, so they can return at the end of the shows with a refreshed and clearer awareness of life itself. Experiencing these carefully unearthed golden musical nuggets, (and, in most cases, the most colorful and hallucinatory music ever recorded), will help their creativity expand and explode. That’s why The Way Out’s slogan, “Helps you lose your mind so you can get it back!” fits so well, even when your dreams are three sizes too big…
Ron in various states of bionic activation. Photos: Matt Harris, Dre Naylor, Dre Naylor
(More history connection trivia): The name “The Way Out” was re-used from graphic lettering that Ron created and designed for an ad layout for his own skateboard company Grape Netwerk back in 1993. The ad appeared in the January 1994 issue of TransWorld Skateboarding Magazine on page 32.
Ron’s Grape Netwerk skateboards ad featuring “The Way Out” lettering in TransWorld Skateboard magazine January 1994.