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Eoin Murray
19 January 2024, 13:32

Silent Servant, LA techno producer and Sandwell District member, has died

News of the influential artist’s passing was confirmed in an email sent by his management, Triangle Agency

Photo of Silent Servant in a green rain coat posing against a grey backgroun

Silent Servant, the Los Angeles-based techno producer and DJ born John Juan Mendez, has died.

The news was confirmed in an email sent to DJ Mag by Mendez’s management, Triangle Agency. No cause of death was disclosed.

A DJ since the age of 16, the Central America-born artist’s career in techno spanned over 30 years. He connected with Birmingham producer Regis in 1999 and went onto become a member of his influential techno collective Sandwell District in 2002, alongside Female and Function. He released a string of 12”s on the label throughout the decade and served as its art director. He also co-ran and released music through the Historia y Violencia label alongside Santiago Salazar.

Mendez, Regis and James Ruskin founded the Jealous God label in 2011 following the dissolution of Sandwell District, releasing music from artists including Varg, Alessandro Adriani, Broken English Club and Phase Fatale. 

Silent Servant collaborated with Phase Fatale for the first release on the latter’s BITE label in 2018, ‘Confess’, which took in the influences of the wave, EBM and industrial music that fed into many of his productions, and which featured regularly on his monthly NTS show. Over the years, Mendez also released music on Hospital Productions, The Corner and Cititrax, and was a founding member of the post-punk band, Tropic Of Cancer, with Camella Lobo.  

In November last year, Silent Servant released his final album, ‘In Memoriam’, via Berlin’s Tresor, an album that was described as a "deeply personal memoir of a 30-plus year career spent exploring and absorbing the shadowy side of music". Tresor was just one of the legendary clubs he DJ’d at regularly during his career, alongside Berghain and KHIDI and Bassiani in Tbilisi.

Sandwell District’s essential 2010 album, ‘Feed-Forward’, was reissued last year, while a new compilation titled ‘WHERE NEXT ?’ was announced just this week, featuring tracks from throughout the collective’s history. 

Listen to ‘In Memoriam’, and read a selection of tributes to Silent Servant, below.