House of EL on always thinking outside the box and never having watched Harry Potter for Fresh Face.

Welcome to Fresh Face, a quick-fire interview series spotlighting the best rising talents in today’s youthful music scene. From biggest pet peeves to party tricks and death row meals, we’re stripping things back from the formal Q&A format. Think of it like speed dating, but with some of the freshest music makers worth discovering.

Kieron McIntosh, better known as House of EL, is a Northampton-based artist ready for big things. His second single “Push On” was released in December 2021 in the lead up to his highly anticipated mixtape ‘Book of EL’, out this January.


Originally a jazz trumpeter, House of EL’s skills are multi-faceted. After furthering his musicality by getting into producing and songwriting, McIntosh quickly established his credibility working with artists such as Plan B, Paloma Faith and Chase and Status before emerging with his own original material.


Showing no signs of slowing after consistent solo releases since 2018, his latest single “Push On” oozes optimism and tenacity. The track sees House of EL share a tale of perseverance, backed by a smooth drum groove, anthemic trumpets and a jazzy guitar lick. He has discussed the origins of the track, and the inspiration of his grandparents who immigrated to the UK: “Black people are the most resilient people on earth!… we have had to be, seeing what my grandparents and great grandparents went through as immigrants to the UK, seeing what Black women still go through to this day across the world not to mention across the world inspired me to write this song.” Aiming as ever to uplift his listeners, the engagement with social issues is presented in an infectious and catchy package, building further anticipation for the January release.


Notion asked House of EL the questions we all really wanted to know, from his love of chess to his party trick and more.

How can an artist stay original nowadays?

I think originality is so important in a world with so much music. It’s really important to try and diversify your interests and hobbies, what you read or listen to and the places you hang out – I really listen to so many different genres of music like I’ve been listening to obscure 70’s gospel stuff and Brazilian Funk, sometimes there’s nothing there but I think originality is what helps people connect with you and trust you over time to create music that really means something to them. I also hang out with so many different types of people everyones perspective is valid and you learn a lot even if you disagree, it all feeds into the art. When creating I also try not to over perfect but be prolific and think about how to approach things in new ways.
It’s also important to go with your instincts especially the contrarian ones, go against the grain, if you explore ideas that challenge you – they are hard to make sense of but over time – but will help you stand out. You really have to force yourself to swim against the tide in all you do, can be painful in the short term but I believe it’s worth it in the long term

Three things that inspire you outside of music?

Chess – it’s an interesting game, I’m not great at it but I like thinking about it or any game that makes you think differently. Boxing – I just think the art of fighting is fascinating and I love the fact that there are two individuals putting everything on the line, it’s kinda like music in a way. Nature – I really love being outdoors it really is everything, in times when I can’t think of great ideas I get outside and usually something comes a melody a lyric or something, nature really is amazing you can’t take it for granted how incredible it is.

What are you currently obsessed with?

Currently obsessed with learning about pretty much anything, I can happily watch artists like MJ and Prince dancing for hours or documentaries, but equally biology and bits of science. There’s just so much to learn and so little time and I think we are against the clock to make great decisions as a species, I guess I try to make music that somehow connects with these obsessions..  I think I have always been obsessed with finding new sounds and textures in music too – sometimes it comes out in what I create sometimes I just internalise it.

What’s your party trick?

Probably jumping on the piano and playing most songs from ear without ever hearing it…. maybe I need to party more?!

Finish this sentence. I feel happiest when…

When I’m outside learning and talking to people, I happily wander around and meet new people, people are fascinating all over the world. I love watching documentaries seeing how others live around the world, that hopefully comes across in my music – there’s endless inspiration in continents like Africa, and India so diverse and rich culturally…. I’ve been watching these documentaries on YouTube this super dope guy goes to really dangerous cities around the world and connects with real people on the street… I would like to do that.

Are we alone in the universe?

Maybe, maybe not. I think that’s part of the excitement of life – not knowing and having the opportunity to think about big questions like that. Imagine we weren’t though… that would be so dope… I love the thought of aliens and being an interplanetary species. If not though, there’s plenty to explore here still.

Which celebrity would you love to be friends with?

Stevie Wonder/Jay Z/Bob Dylan (sorry for cheating…) – I think they both all knowledge that is just so rare and such a broad skill set in different ways, I’m sure I will hang with them at some point *prayer emoji*! But I love meeting people in real ways, like imagine watching trash TV and eating ice cream with any of them, mad! I always think you get more just chilling and being real around people than meeting someone backstage or something like that..

Wildest thing that’s happened to you lately?

I was once in Serbia playing at a small festival and after the show I started wondering around, we found this hotel and were looking for a bar. We followed the music.. Literally walked until we found a downstairs basement area and it was a guy playing one CASIO keyboard on a small stage in a drab brown room (like what I imagine a former Soviet party looked like, very uniform) and loads of old people dancing to this demo keyboard type music.
Anyway I ended hanging out with this old Serbian guy who was wearing all red tracksuit with a red bandanna… really weird guy and we proceeded to drink tequila all night. I found out that they drink triple measures as doubles, was a hazy one… He was mental and I can’t speak the language so I have no idea what he was saying – it was like a weird movie scene. Probably very dangerous and he ended up getting kicked out for some reason… to this day I have no idea what it was!

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Oxtail rice and peas… if you know you know… a classic.

Biggest goal for 2022?

I really want to connect with my music as an artist and writer, and I want to create and make as much as possible at the highest quality …..conceptual work… it’s takeover time! Seriously though, it’s all a process and a journey – I set goals – yes sometimes you exceed them but sometimes you don’t, as long as you don’t give up is the main thing I’m in this to win the marathon!… I’m excited about the new year and sharing what I have next though for sure, got a lot of ideas and music to put out into the world.

Never have I ever…

Watched Harry Potter… am I missing out?!

Listen to "Push On" below:

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