In 1978, Cabaret Voltaire signed to Rough Trade Records. Manchester-based Factory Records had offered to sign the band, and Throbbing Gristle was also interested in signing the band to Industrial Records, but it was with an offer of a four-track Revox tape machine (in lieu of an advance) that Rough Trade secured the deal. With Rough Trade they released several acclaimed musically experimental singles and EPs, including Extended Play and “Nag Nag Nag”, and albums such as Three Mantras and The Voice of America in 1980, and Red Mecca in 1981.
In the 27 June 1978 edition of NME, Andy Gill said: “I firmly believe Cabaret Voltaire will turn out to be one of the most important new bands to achieve wider recognition this year. Wait and see.” Subsequently, “Nag Nag Nag” sold ten thousand copies, despite poor reviews, and reached as far afield as France and Belgium, while the debut album Mix-Up reached number 12 on the UK Indie charts. Their success continued with The Voice of America and Red Mecca, reaching number three and number one on the UK Indie charts respectively.