An Unspeakable Tragedy: Remembering Silent Servant, Simone Ling and The Soft Moon

Three artists with deep roots and human connections in this scene died last week, in what appears to be an unspeakable tragedy.

Juan Mendez, better known as techno producer Silent Servant; Luis Vasquez, known for his music under the moniker The Soft Moon; and visual artist Simone Ling were reported dead last Friday.

News outlets initially reported only the death of Vasquez, before noting two other records added to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s website which suggested two other people had died at the same time and at the same location.

Those people were were Ling and Mendez. The two were partners, but Ling was a talented artist in her own right, coordinating album and video art for music releases including those of her partner.

Initial LA county coroner records indicate that the three died at a “private residence,” though no other details were forthcoming. The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that the bodies were discovered at Mendez and Ling’s residence following a welfare check sought by Vasquez’s wife. The case “is being investigated as a possible fentanyl overdose,” according to the Times’ sources.

LA County coroner records are public, though the investigation is ongoing. According to the medical examiner’s initial reports, Ling was 43, Vasquez was 44 and Mendez was 46 years old. The Times suggests it may take “three to six months” before the examination is concluded and cause of death disclosed.

Simone Ling’s website features a number of her video and still artwork; the the video at the top of this page is one of her works posted in July 2022. I’m sorry to say I never saw some of this incredible artwork and her original music before now.

Luis Vasquez began playing in punk bands before founding The Soft Moon. Originally a studio project, The Soft Moon would release five albums and Vasquez toured with hired musicians in support of acts including Depeche Mode and Interpol.

Raised in Los Angeles, Juan Mendez first attained international recognition as a member of the Sandwell District collective. He adopted the moniker “Silent Servant” as a production alias in the mid-’00s. His final original release was an EP for Tresor; the record was called In Memoriam.