Darryl Torr

Two years ago, when he was one half of indie pop duo Dear Reader, Darryl Torr chose knob-twiddling over his bass guitar. “It was an extremely difficult decision,” he says. “We were signed to City Slang, touring Europe and doing really well. But the label told me you can’t live in South Africa and tour all the time.” Dear Reader is now singer Cherilyn MacNeil’s solo project, and the genial Torr is happily back in his flourishing studio, Open Room Productions, in Johannesburg. Right now he’s polishing albums by Zebra & Giraffe and Crash Car Burn. “My passion is producing bands. There’s always something new and unique to be found.” A case in point is the Grammy that graces his studio wall — bagged for production on a Soweto Gospel Choir album in 2007. “At first I hid it away in a box. But everyone else in the studio insisted we take it out.”

— Carlos Amato