Novog, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, was playing piano at four and violin at eight before moving to viola. She was a member of the American Youth Symphony and graduated from the California Institute for the Arts. She also got session work (for example, playing the string solo on the Doobie Brothers' "Black Water") and played in pop/rock bands, notably Rebecca & the Sunnybrook Farmers, which released an album on Musicor Records. This group evolved into the trio Chunky, Novi & Ernie, which released a self-titled album on Reprise Records in 1976. In 1978, billing herself simply as "Novi" and playing keyboards, she joined the new wave band Sumner, led by singer Sumner Mering, which released a self-titled album on Elektra/Asylum Records in 1980. After Sumner broke up in 1981, Novog turned primarily to session work in Los Angeles, playing viola and violin and writing string arrangements on records by such artists as Sheila E., the Time, Prince (the string solos on "Purple Rain" and "Raspberry Beret"), Jennifer Warnes, Edie Brickell, Ferron, Air Supply, Amanda McBroom, Christopher Cross, Terence Trent D'Arby, Valerie Carter, Scott Weiland, Michael Feinstein, Marianne Faithfull, Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, Linda Ronstadt, Liz Callaway, Timothy B. Schmit, and Michael Jackson, among many others.
Larry Tuttle grew up in Seattle, where he began playing the string bass at the age of nine. He had extensive training in his youth, including playing principal bass at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, sitting in with the Seattle Symphony, and studying at the University of Washington. He, too, became interested in rock music, however, and turning to the electric bass, he joined a local group, Russia, which eventually moved to Los Angeles and recorded a self-titled album released by Warner Bros. Records in 1980. Staying in Los Angeles after Russia broke up, Tuttle began to do sessions, eventually turning to the 12-stringed Chapman Stick. In 1999, he released an album of Stick solos, Through the Gates.
Novog and Tuttle met when both helped form the instrumental group Freeway Philharmonic, which made four albums, Freeway Philharmonic, Car Tunes, Sonic Detour, and Road to Joy. They were also together in the band SoulSkin, which released a self-titled album in 2003. Then, they pared down their partnership to just the two of them, forming String Planet and issuing a self-titled album in 2004.