About Us

Mark St.John Ellis founded the record label DeNovaDaCapo in 1990. He studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. His first choice originally was Art college where he ultimately wanted to design album covers. Shortly after leaving LAMDA and having formed, according to Melody Maker, - "the doom laden drum machine and feedback guitar band”, 'Masque' which played the London rock venues, he changed the project title to 'Theatre of Masque’ which was a better description of the physical theatre performance group it had become, inspired by mask work, Japanese Buto and the writings of Antonin Artaud. The venues became art galleries and theatres.
Mark St.John then started to compose music for pieces of theatre and film with the photographer Daniel Faoro in photographic stills and super 8mm film. The two then collaborated on a twenty minute film set to music, 'Philosophy with a Hammer', based on the chiaroscuro paintings of Caravaggio and De la Tour. This was previewed in the Bijou cinema Soho, London, in 1991. As a consequence of the screening, an album distribution deal was offered in 1992 by World Serpent Distribution, followed by an invitation to record the first Elijah’s Mantle album in the Dead Can Dance Studio of Quivvy Church, County Cavan, Ireland. ‘Philosophy with a Hammer’ was released in 1995 in VHS format worldwide.
1995 also brought an invitation to tour Europe and the USA with Lisa Gerrard on the release of her first solo album from Dead Can Dance. Mark St.John went on to curate the release of the DeNovaDaCapo compilation featuring two of Lisa’s previously unreleased pieces the following year. From 1993 Elijah’s Mantle released eight albums, after which, in 2005 DeNovaDaCapo became a self releasing record label and Mark St.John concentrated on the visual Arts.
In 2013 the secondary project N-A-G was created to cater for the different musical direction that this period of time was exploring. From 2018 the works of Elijah’s Mantle were revisited with edited new arrangements and a new series of generic album covers was created by Mark St.John’s nagDesign and the graphic designer Liam Furlong to form a Collection. In that same year Mark St.John engaged in a project exploring sounds with bowls, samples and his voice, which became an Arts Council funded soundscape project ‘The Empty Vessel’, releasing an album in 2020 with the voice of Catriona O’Leary and in 2021 with Lisa Gerrard. Mark St.John continues to curate, design and photograph spaces for the visual arts, creates film and sound installations and designs brochures and album covers under nagDesign.