Esperi is Scottish multi-instrumentalist Chris Lee-Marr. He makes poignant, delicate music that could be called folk if it weren't for the electronic loops and myriad instruments that he uses to construct his songs.

There are so many ideas that go into each track. It allows Esperi to take Chris’ delicate, lilting voice and put it on top of an array of sounds. Guitars, drums, keyboards, violins, bass, chimes, bells, kalimbas, xylophones mesh together and each instrument is used to build and build the sound until it swells into something beautiful.

Live is where this really comes to life, ideas and instruments weave together to form something organic, intimate and breathtaking – if you get the chance you should really check him out.

The 405 met up with Chris to discuss how he developed this unique sound, how being from Scotland affects his songwriting and the plans for his epic debut album.

First of all, where does the name Esperi come from?

It’s from a sci-fi novel by Ian M. Banks, it was the name of a star in the book. I'm a big fan of sci-fi and really like the word esperi. 

Are you proud of how the EP sounds? It collates all your releases from the past 12 months – do you think it accurately reflects where your head is now (and your sound!)?

I really like it and I'm proud of it but I'm just getting started. I love learning new ways of playing instruments and interesting ways of recording so I hope to improve ten fold . The weird thing about releasing music is the gap between writing music to releasing it, the two electronic tracks are really old and had just been on the shelf, the songs I'm writing just now might get played at a few shows but probably won't be on record for a year or so, I'm itching to start working on the new stuff but I also know I've got 'new' releases that I need to play live. 

Where do your ideas for songs come from?

I like to write about the things that mean the most to me, my family and dogs, friends, relationships, nature, and recently my decisions and passions in life, I also like to use metaphors. Musically I like to think about music as a collection of sounds put together in such a way that complement the lyrics, like a film with a score. 

A song like ‘Made For Life’ features many instruments and different layers and textures. How did you get into writing songs in that way?

Well, 'Made for Life' is a song I wrote on the guitar and will sometimes play stripped back that way but I like to use layers and textures to give the music a certain feel to it, I think I first started using layers and textures very early when I first got a four track when I was about 16 and made demos at home. 

When it comes to recording the songs how do you go about layering these ideas on top of each other and making them all come together?

I tend to have a song which is structured as an acoustic song that I could just sing and play guitar, and sometimes I record those primary parts as a core then build on it, or sometimes I write music with the loop pedal which then is already layered and as a live performance. 

There are so many different sounds which feature in your songs - how many instruments can you actually play?

Yeah I love sound in general and the thing is anything that makes sound can be used as an instrument, I love acoustic sounds like a good wooden floor gives a nice big boom like a drum and finger clicks and claps can have a nice electronic glitchy sound but yeah I use a lot of guitars, drums, keyboards/piano, any sorts of percussion and tuned percussion like chimes, bells, kalimbas, xylophones and glockenspiels and then also bits of drum programming and making synths and effects.

And how do you decide what instruments to go on each track?

I guess it could be down to what I'm in the mood for or if I'm trying out something new or it might just be obvious what the track needs.

Which song best represents where you will take you sound in the future?

I think maybe there's gonna be a few more songs in the same style/mood as 'Lone Wolf' but I'm also keen to use more equipment and try building up bigger soundscapes similar to 'Silo the Fire' and 'Hearts 2'. 

How much do you feel being from Scotland affects the songs you write?

I'm not sure it’s hard to say, I love Scotland: the mountains, glens, forests and beaches, the changing seasons, I'm sure it has some effect. I take my guitar with me when I'm out with my dog.

Which acts have influenced your sound do you think?

Well, I love so much music but my favourite music that I think esperi resembles is by Sufjan Stevens, Sigur Ros and Jonsi, Owen, Bon Iver, Mice Parade, Joanna Newsom, Amiina, Iron and Wine, mum and so many more!

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Just playing shows and a new EP 'Melancholics Anonymous' is on the way – I’m also gonna try and do a few collaborations with friends. 

When I saw you live all these elements seemed to coalesce into something really powerful and it was fantastic to see you playing so many instruments. Do you prefer being in the studio or playing live?

I prefer playing live. I really enjoying being in the studio as well especially when exciting things are happening, but my favourite part is finishing a project in the studio and getting out on the road. 

Is there an album on the way?

Yeah, it’s pretty much finished now and ready for release in spring.

What can we expect from it?

It’s pretty epic, about 70 minutes long it features my current live set 'Silo the Fire', 'Cat and Dogs and Hearts pt 1 and 2', 'Lone Wolf' and 'Home' plus the lead track from the new EP 'Homer' and a few more songs. It sounds bigger and fuller than the live show with a string quartet, some double bass, Rhodes piano – a lot of instruments.