Forecasting explosive eruptions relies on using monitoring data to interpret the patterns and timescales of magma transport and mixing. In September 2017, a distal seismic swarm triggered the evacuation of around 140,000 people from Agung volcano, Bali. From satellite imagery and 3D numerical models, we show that seismicity was associated with a deep, sub-vertical magma intrusion between Agung and its neighbour Batur. This, combined with observations of the 1963 eruption which caused more than thousand fatalities, suggests a vertically and laterally interconnected system experiencing recurring magma mixing. The geometry of the 2017 dyke is consistent with transport from a deep mafic source to a shallow andesitic reservoir controlled by stresses induced by the topographic load, but not the regional tectonics. The ongoing interactions between Agung and Batur have important implications for interpretation of distal seismicity, the links between closely spaced arc volcanoes, and the potential for cascading hazards.