Artists who performed as the Soft Moon and Silent Servant die in Los Angeles

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Artists who performed as the Soft Moon and Silent Servant die in Los Angeles
Jose (Luis) Vasquez, John (Juan) Mendez and a third person, Simone Ling, were found unresponsive last week. Authorities had not determined a cause but said “possible narcotics” were at the scene.

by Matt Stevens

NEW YORK, NY.- Musician Jose (Luis) Vasquez of the post-punk band the Soft Moon, John (Juan) Mendez, the DJ known as Silent Servant, and a third person were found unresponsive at a loft apartment in downtown Los Angeles last week and were pronounced dead, according to their representatives and authorities in Los Angeles.

Vasquez’s death was announced in a post on the band’s Facebook page on Friday. Records kept by the Los Angeles County coroner show that Jose Vasquez, 44, died at a residence the day before, Jan. 18.

Triangle Agency, which represents Mendez, confirmed his death to the electronic music platform Resident Advisor. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office lists John Mendez, 46, as also having died on Jan. 18 at a residence.

The coroner’s office said a third person, Simone Ling, 43, was also found the afternoon of Jan. 18 at the private residence in the 600 block of South Main Street in Los Angeles. A spokesperson said that the Department of Medical Examiner has deferred the cause of death in all three cases, and that it could take three to six months to make a final determination about the cause.

Lt. Letisia Ruiz, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department, said officers had responded to a call about a missing person, and upon arriving at Pacific Electric Lofts downtown, they entered a unit to find three adults who were unresponsive. “The officers also observed possible narcotics and narcotics paraphernalia,” she said. All three people were pronounced dead at the scene, she added.

Homicide investigators were deployed to the scene and found no evidence of foul play or forced entry into the location, Ruiz said. The coroner’s office will handle the case and perform toxicology tests, she said.

Vasquez, a multi-instrumentalist, released at least five albums from 2010 to 2022 as the Soft Moon. “Because the Soft Moon is a personal journey for me it is important that I write on my own,” he told in 2014. “Everything about the project is about self discovery, growth, emotional healing, battles with my inner demons, my biology and digging up the past. I started the Soft Moon as a means of therapy for myself.” Other members joined for live shows.

The band’s website listed touring dates next month in Denmark, Georgia, Turkey and Greece.

“This is a huge loss and our hearts are broken,” the Facebook post on the band’s page said.

Mendez, who grew up in Southern California, began releasing work under the pseudonym Silent Servant in the mid-2000s while he was still a member of the techno collective Sandwell District. He released his first full-length album, “Negative Fascination,” in 2012 and a second album in 2018.

A 2017 profile of Mendez in Resident Advisor said he owned a loft in downtown Los Angeles and detailed his work as a designer and art director, which also involved cover art for music.

In the profile, he described his mindset as he shaped the Sandwell District aesthetic during downtime at his day job years ago. “The whole thing was just make something every day that you’re free,” he said. “It didn’t matter what, just make something.”

Resident Advisor said that Mendez was scheduled to perform as a DJ in Phoenix on Friday.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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