Zach Broyles started building Mythos Pedals back in 2010. We were lucky enough to get the dirt on how the Mythos brand came to be, what's next for the line, and Zach's very own vintage archtop instant neck removal technique.
RM: Can you give us the Mythos Pedals origin story?
ZB: I started modding pedals in the early 2000's thanks to Brian Wampler's book on the subject. After years of modding Boss and Ibanez pedals I had a Dunlop Fuzz Face reissue that turned into a radio thanks to a failing transistor, after I looked inside I thought to myself, "I could build this". I ordered the parts online, found a perf board layout, threw it together and to my amazement it worked and sounded good. I continued building for myself and friends and decided to give my builds a name in 2010 and that's when Mythos was born. After years of tinkering and making things in passing for friends I tried to actually give it a serious shot thanks to my then girlfriend, now wife Morgan. In 2017 I quit my full-time job to pursue Mythos.
RM: What drives the designs you create at Mythos?
ZB: I'm very driven by, what I consider, good tone. I want circuits that respond and give back to you as a player and are hard to make sound bad. Often I'll get a recording or sound in my head and I chase it, but other times it's just my relentless tinkering that brings about some of the most inspiring stuff. I tend to see ideas in a completed form and work backwards from there, chasing a design aesthetic and feeling from a product standpoint. I have no formal education in electrical engineering so I try to surround myself with people who are smarter than me, oftentimes it's conversations with other builders, players or just the community that informs what we build.
RM: What’s your favorite in-production Mythos pedal?
ZB:My favorite depends on the day sometimes, but I love the Oracle because it's everything I want out of a delay and it's an original design. However, ask me a week from now and I'll pick a different model.
RM: What’s your favorite out-of-production Mythos pedal?
ZB: I love the Herculean V2 overdrive, I feel like it encapsulates everything I want from an overdrive. It originated as a TS808 variant and I think the community only thought of it as a modded screamer circuit but it was so much more than that. It can get 808 sounds but it can do thick dumble-like sounds or more transparent vibes. I'm working on a V3 but still haven't settled on what I want it to be tonally.
RM: Who does the graphic design for Mythos?
ZB: Most of the time it's me. Myself and Karen from Big Ear Pedals reworked the brand aesthetic with the Oracle release which informed the new art direction. I collaborate with other artists from time to time to get a look I want if I can't get it or just don't have time, but I love firing up Adobe Illustrator and working on artwork.
RM: You come from the retail music world; can you share your top 300 most ridiculous interactions from that time in your life? (Or maybe 1 or 2?)
ZB: Working at Carter Vintage in Nashville was a whirlwind! I had only been working there a month or so when the owners came to tell us that Pete Townsend was coming in. He was the first BIG rockstar I'd ever had the chance to meet and I was shaking like a leaf, but we chatted with him a lot and he even showed us all how to play Pinball Wizard on a Gibson J-200! I still think about it.
My other favorite story was the day the very first cherry sunburst Les Paul came into the shop. I was standing at the pedal counter, where I always stood, and we saw a gentleman walk in with a vintage lifton case. Now this wasn't out of the ordinary but everytime it happens the sales people start buzzing with excitement. The repair guys and the owners walk up with the case and say the very first 'Burst is in the building. It was one of two prototypes that Gibson had made, the second one finished in Cherry Sunburst belongs to Slash. By the by, Gibson claims Slash's is the first because it has a center seam but the one Carter's was indeed the first 1958 Les Paul with a Cherry Sunburst finish. Anyway, we had the pleasure of selling that guitar and it was truly a special instrument.
RM: What’s the most expensive piece of gear you’ve ever accidentally destroyed?
ZB: I dropped a vintage Epiphone archtop once, and the neck popped out of the joint. It was about a $7000 vintage guitar, but it could have been worse. I handled guitars that cost ten times that on a daily basis. Needless to say I was even more careful after that mistake.
ZB: Well, we have myself, McKinley, Jeff and Matthew. We're all very different musicians and while we all have very different personalities we click very well as a team. We all share a similar sense of humor and our neighbors probably are curious about what in the world we're doing in our unit. While I do feel like I'm a pretty competent outdoorsman I think McKinely could survive just about anywhere. He's younger than the rest of us, in better shape, and all around more wily.
RM: If you could do a collaboration pedal with anyone out there right now, who might it be? And can we have one?
ZB: Billy Gibbons, my guitar hero! I would love to pick his brain and create something wacky and weird. And of course, if I make a pedal with BFG I'd be so excited I'd be shooting them out of a T-Shirt Gun at guitarists everywhere. LOOK OUT!
RM: Tell us how you got into the YouTube/podcast world and how you really feel about that.
ZB: I've always dreamt of having some sort of YouTube presence. For most of my life I was incredibly shy, I got red-light fever and just froze. I got over most of that by having a completely extroverted wife and doing AMAs on Instagram, I decided I'm just going to put myself out there and not hold back and it seems to still be working. Luckily having friends like Rhett Shull has been a huge help and motivator. I started doing livestreams in 2020 to stay sane when I was building all day and night which parlayed nicely into doing a podcast. I love being a part of the guitar community beyond Mythos and I'm grateful I've found some place to voice my opinions and interact with the guitar world at large.
RM: What does Mythos do that some people might not know about?
ZB: Hmmmm, product wise we are doing more guitar accessories which are fun and different for players. People may not know how serious I sweat the small things, I take things like our jacks, wires, ribbons, even knobs very seriously. I have had the guys unbox an entire batch of pedals because the knobs didn't have the right look. Those things may seem minor but to me it's what makes a product really reflect what I'm all about even if the function isn't affected. Also, most of our swag is some sort of Ghostbusters reference.
ZB: Well there is no shortage of pedal ideas! We have a ton of pedals we're hoping to release this year but we're really trying to get our modulation pedals out soon. Bucket Brigade Chorus and a real photocell Vibe pedal are just the start. But also, one day we hope to have amps, even maybe a guitar? We'll see, so long as the community is still excited about what we're doing we'll keep pushing and making new fun things.