Before the likes of the “Emory Memes for (not so) Southern Teens (MemEmory)” Facebook group, students had just one source of internet humor: the Emory Anthem. More than six years ago, Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) brothers Eric Seti (12B), Matthew Schwartz (13C) and Dashon Catlett (13B) produced the viral music video about Emory University, which they said stemmed from their passions for filmmaking and comedy. The video has amassed 104,805 views as of Tuesday night.
Seti graduated with concentrations in finance and marketing. Having worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in management consulting for four years after graduating, Seti is currently an M.B.A candidate at the Columbia Business School in New York City, intending to return to PwC upon graduation. Schwartz graduated from the College with a major in film studies with a concentration in film and media management and is currently a content director for The Shadowboxers, an American pop band signed with Justin Timberlake that also got their start at Emory.
Although Catlett was unavailable for an interview, Seti and Schwartz spoke to the Wheel about the story behind the Emory Anthem.
This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
Eric Seti: When we made the [Emory Anthem] it was just an experiment for ETV [Emory TV]. It was an exercise in creativity … I don’t know if you remember but [“Saturday Night Live”] was releasing these little five-minute videos like “I’m On A Boat.” Those were really catchy and popular on campus so we wanted to apply that format to the Emory community. I knew Matt and Dashon because we were all in ZBT. And I knew they were really talented from a musical standpoint so they wrote the music and lyrics and we went off from there.
Matthew Schwartz: In terms of who did what, the lyrics and melody were all Dashon. The instrumental and the beat was me, and the production was a collaboration between Eric and [me]. I was given a camera when I was 8 years old, and I had been making shorts and films and music videos of that nature, handing in videos instead of writing essays throughout middle school and high school. Everything was leading up for me continuing to have a camera in my hands.
ES: [The video] picked up speed pretty quickly. The weekend it was dropped there were like 20,000 views within the two-day period in which we put it on YouTube.
MS: My privacy definitely disappeared once the video was released. Definitely in the Emory community, even a few times in an internship at MTV, whenever I ran into an Emory alum … It was interesting, walking through the DUC — as we got older — when we were juniors and seniors, the freshmen that came in, they wanted to take pictures with us.
MS: Everything was hyper relevant to our exact experience at the time at Emory. I actually failed pre-med which is where the line in the song comes from. I got weeded out in gen chem, and I haven’t looked back since. And I feel very lucky that I did. Many of those lines are now outdated but kinda served as a time capsule to what Emory was like in 2010.
ES: The thing that kind of makes me laugh at myself. You realize how quickly things change. When you hear references to LearnLinks and BBMs and Zaya’s. You realize how fast the world changes.
MS: There seems to be a common theme with a lot of creative [people] that came out of Emory. They didn’t get the support or the respect that they deserved from faculty and professors — everything was very educational based, and it seems like they want to encourage you to become a professor and discourage you from becoming a true creative.
MS: Be yourself. Be fearless. Follow your heart. Sometimes you need to weigh emotions and logic. It’s okay to lean into your dreams even if professors and the environment you’re in push you to stick to the more logical approach.
ES: I certainly wouldn’t trade the types of things that we did at Emory for anything. Even if they don’t have a direct relationship to what I’m doing now, I think it just speaks to the opportunities you have at Emory to do things outside your comfort zone and take advantage of opportunities of things you might not have once school is done.