Juan Mendez, the techno producer and DJ better known as Silent Servant, has died. Resident Advisor initially reported the news, which was confirmed to Pitchfork via Mendez’s representatives. A cause of death has not been revealed at this time.
Mendez was born in Central America to Cuban and Mexican parents and raised in Los Angeles. He began DJing as a teenager and would go on to join the influential Sandwell District collective, which issued records by up-and-coming techno artists between 2002 and 2011. Mendez shaped the collective alongside genre mainstays like Regis, Function, James Ruskin, and Peter Sutton. Mendez also served as the graphic designer for Sandwell District, crafting the stark, largely black-and-white artwork that adorned the label’s records.
Mendez began releasing music as Silent Servant in 2006 with his The Silent Morning 12″ that included the tracks “Silence,” “Death to the Traveller,” and “Murder Murder.” Over the ensuing decades he shared numerous singles, EPs, and collaborative projects. He also released two full-length solo albums, 2012’s Negative Fascination and 2018’s Shadows of Death and Desire. And, this past November, he issued his In Memoriam EP via Tresor Records.
In the wake of the collective, Mendez launched the label Jealous God with Regis and Ruskin. Their roster included Broken English Club, Varg, Marcel Dettmann, and Terence Fixmer. A number of artists have paid tribute to Mendez after learning of his death. “I once asked Silent Servant what a record was as he was playing a reliably beautiful set,” Daniel Avery wrote on X. “The next time I saw Juan he had bought me my own copy of the vinyl. An amazing artist and incredibly gentle guy. RIP to a true one.”