It's been nearly three long years since Depeche Mode released their latest album, 2009's 'Sounds of the Universe,' and Martin Gore says the band recently reconvened to begin working on their 13th, as-yet-untitled disc. The trio plan on hitting the studio in March and are "hoping to be finished by the end of the year," Gore tells The Quietus.

'Sounds of the Universe' was followed by a nearly year-long tour that wound down February 2010 in Germany. Since then all three members have for the most part taken a break from the Mode, with Gore recently hooking up with former DM member Vince Clarke to form the aptly named electronica outfit VCMG. The duo's debut album, 'SSSS,' is set to drop March 12.

"It was a nice break for me to be able to go and do something completely different that doesn't involve poring over lyrics and having to think about vocal melodies," Gore says of VCMG, which has a minimalist slant and is exclusively instrumental. He also believes VCMG inspired him when it was time to begin penning new material for the next Mode album: "I think I went back to actually writing for [Depeche Mode] with much more vigour afterwards, because I had taken such a break. It gave me a real creative impetus."

If nothing else, putting down the guitar to focus on techno music was a change. "You have to remember as well that I'm also a guitar player," he said. "Working on the VCMG record, obviously I didn't look at a guitar for that whole period because it just wasn't right -- so the moment I started getting back to writing songs for the band then I'm picking up the guitar, I'm going on the piano, working on chords, just working completely differently."

The Mode are known to take their sweet time recording, so don't expect the album until 2013. But that likely will be followed by another tour, and thus one more chance to catch the groundbreaking synth-pop band on the road while they're still going strong.

In the meantime, check out 'Spock,' the debut single from VCMG's 'SSSS' album.

Listen To VCMG, 'Spock'