And you play her something, and she's like 'No, not that, more like this.' And there's this ongoing back and forth, where you're slowly drawing closer to finding this sound that she's chasing.
And it draws you into a place you wouldn't go to yourself, helps you discover new ideas, and develop a new vocabulary.
You spend all this time making it, spend all your time touring on it, and this goes on in a cycle.
For me, it felt really important to get myself out of that, and live for a little bit." That 'living' included a host of collaborations with others, Longstreth working with musicians ranging from Kanye West to Bombino.
Then, on the other end of it, I was making string quartet music, old-style, writing [scores] out, for this weird, one-off solo show I did at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York [in 2013].
When I started to realise the rhythms and the string music were the same, that they overlapped and belonged to each other, then I started to wonder about how it might all fit together." Befitting Longstreth's ever-adventurous approach to composition, Dirty Projectors is built on distorted rhythms, with vocal layers (including some from Tyondai Braxton), hand percussion, digital noise and field recordings all in the mix.
"Maybe there is that element," Longstreth says, "of having gone on a long journey only to find myself where I started, back home, but with new eyes." The lyrics of Keep Your Name are filled with bitterness and bile, accusations and transmissions from a relationship turned sour.
A melody is like a path, and I took myself down the path a lot.
The album is not a diary, it's not a journal, it's not a newspaper.
It's a kaleidoscope." Longstreth will admit, though, that the starting point for these jams, and for Dirty Projectors, was heartbreak.
"Yeah, of course I can recognise versions of us in that story," he says.
"But, even if it's about our history, about Dirty Projectors, I'd caution that it's still a story...